Right to self-determination of people of Kashmir | By Raja Muhammad Sajjad Khan


Right to self-determination of people of Kashmir

KASHMIR is the oldest unresolved is sue on the agenda of the United Nations. At the time of partition of the subcontinent Kashmir was a princely state, it was not included or merged in any domain.

People of Jammu and Kashmir were struggling against the tyrannical and oppressive rule of Maharaja Hari Singh and started an armed struggle in June 1947.

In October 1947 majority areas of Poonch, Mirpur and Muzaffarabad were liberated and on 24th October 1947 a provisional government ie “Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir” was established. Maharaja had lost his control over Kashmir.

Indian National Congress was interested to capture Kashmir because of its geographical and strategic importance. On 27th October 1947, Indian forces landed on Kashmir against the will and wishes of people and in violation of Indian Independence Act.

The local people were resisting against Indian forceful occupation and it seems that the whole state will be liberated and Indian forces shall be pushed back to Delhi.

India knocked the doors of UN on 01 January 1948 on the basis of fraudulent Instrument of Accession to declare Kashmir as her part. The United Nations had established UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) by UNSC on 20th January 1948 to investigate the dispute between the two countries over Kashmir and exercise “mediatory influence”.

On 21 April 1948, UNSC had rejected the Indian claim of accession and accepted Pakistan’s stance of disputed territory and adopted the first resolution on the right to self-determination which states, “Both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.” UNSC has passed 18 resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and UNCIP had passed two resolutions.

On 05 January 1949, UNCIP passed the resolution which states, “The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”.

The opening paragraph of the resolution of 13 August 1948 states, “The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish ….”, that clearly shows that it was agreed by both countries.

It is a historical fact that Kashmir was not part of India even before 1947; it has very rich and old history as a separate entity having its own culture and traditions. The “Kashmiryat” is a common identity of all the regions of Kashmir.In legal context it is a disputed territory under the illegal foreign occupation of India and the people have a right to decide its political future.

Moreover, UNSC resolutions on Kashmir not only declare Kashmir as a disputed territory but also recognize the right to self-determination. The people of IIOJK are struggling for this right, but Indian army is using oppressive measures and lethal force to suppress this legitimate and indigenous freedom struggle of people of IOJK.

Right to self-determination is now an important principle and right in international law. Articles 1 and 55 of the UN Charter also provide respect for the right to self-determination of the people, whereas common article 1 of both international covenants ie International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 1966, the 1960 Resolution on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the 1966 Covenants on Political and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relations, all acknowledge the existence of the “right” of self-determination by which peoples may freely pursue their economic, social, cultural and political development.

The International Court of Justice has confirmed that the right to self-determination is of an erga omnes nature, thus supporting the interest of all states in ensuring its respect.

India had illegally occupied Kashmir and to maintain her occupation had deployed almost 900,000 forces.

On 5th August 2019 India had annexed Kashmir which is clear violation of international law, UN Charter, the UN resolutions on Kashmir and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.

India had redefined domicile law after abrogation of Article 35-A, under the new law, even Indians can get the domicile of Kashmir even they never enter Kashmir. Delimitation Commission was established to increase the electoral constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

The commission had submitted its report and recommended increase in six constituencies in Jammu region which is non-Muslim majority area and one seat in the valley which is Muslim majority area.

According to census of 2011 the population of valley is 6.8 million whereas Jammu region’s population is 5.3 million.

Seats were increased on the basis of area not population to increase number of non-Muslim representatives. The basic purpose of all these actions is to change the demography of Kashmir and its Muslim majority character. The UN resolutions on Kashmir are still relevant and after 05 August 2019 India has annexed Kashmir which is clear violation of international law.

—The writer is Director Kashmir Policy Research Institute, Chief Editor Kashmir Today, Director JKLC.


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