Time only for UN action


Zaheer Bhatti

NOT a thought, apparently, for the dire implications for the UN’s authority, International law and the so-called rules-based global order. Not an iota of understanding that India’s enhanced military occupation may revive a conflict that weaponises religion, race and identity in place of democratic dialogue and inclusion……” ……“It is a lawless world where the rules no longer apply, where pacts and treaties are bypassed or torn up, where nations blindly pursue perceived self-interest and where minorities, however defined, are mocked, ignored and exploited”…..
These are neither my words nor from any Pakistani official source, but from the international media uniformly critical of the dastard Indian move which by default has brought alive the latent but potentially volatile issue of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian occupation. The UN merely convening a Security Council meeting at the call of Pakistan and China despite Indian opposition, but falling hopelessly short of at least censuring the illegal Indian annexation move, one has to salute the Kashmiri Diaspora and its support across the world for voicing condemnation of the irresponsible Indian act, and Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the international community for sensitizing the Kashmir issue as a human tragedy unravelling beyond religion.
World Powers, despite India marking time for seven decades by design avoiding even discussion leave alone resolution of the chronic issue which has cost several hundred thousand casualties transforming the region into a nuclear flashpoint, still suggesting to resolve the issue bilaterally, are not so naïve not to recognize the futility of this exercise; far less through any level of mediation either. Clearly, the only course left open for an honourable and fair settlement is determining the will of the people of Kashmir through the UN mandated and supervised Plebiscite without further delay. But to actualize it, the UN will have to revisit two reasons why the process had been frustrated so far.
The first one is Indian mal-intention which soon after the Security Council Resolutions despite giving its occupied territory a special status kept harping that the State was an integral part of India, and the UN failing to censure India over pre-empting the UN decision to determine Kashmir’s status through self-determination by Kashmiris, whereas Pakistan always sought to honour standing UN Security Council Resolutions. The second one is a proviso in one of the Resolutions requiring Pakistani forces to first vacate the liberated territory. Pakistani fears of a unilateral withdrawal in the face of unreliable India have been proven right today with its intentions from day one being malafide. Since it will never undo its illegal annexation except by a UN Decree, it is imminent that the UN annuls the Indian decision, makes it mandatory for both parties to withdraw their forces simultaneously from territories under their respective control replacing them with a sizeable UN Peacekeeping Force to supervise the plebiscite and to maintain law and order.
If the UN can facilitate independence to tiny East Timor and South Sudan within no time, surely sanity demands of the World Body to act over Kashmir much more for its own reputation than for regional and global peace, lest its existence is made irrelevant. This blatantly illegal Indian move against the UN recognized disputed territory of the State between India and Pakistan, is an open affront in contemptuous disregard to the writ and authority of the World Body; unless it is to be a free for all and the ‘law of the jungle’ global scenario, which appears to be the case today. Even if Indian declaration of disregarding the universally agreed ‘No first nuclear strike’ and discussions if any with Pakistan to be only over Pakistan-supervised Azad Kashmir were to be a bigoted though jittery bluff, it is bound to have put Pakistan on Nuclear Alert as it is pledged to go to any extent for the sake of Kashmir, its jugular vein; with its water lifeline flowing out of the State which is threatened at will by India, and which international law was bound to protect; Pakistan being a lower riparian country. It was a fit case for suo motu action by the relevant international forums because this banditry cannot be allowed to continue over the multi-dimensional issue the World Body has allowed to simmer and precipitate, and which calls for immediate UN Security Council intervention.
Pakistan can no longer afford to merely keep probing world conscience in an unequal world which witnesses visual evidence of Indian brutalities against humanity but does nothing to stop the carnage. Going to the ICJ being a non-starter requiring consent by both parties which India would never agree, criminal Court of Justice is the option against Indian criminal assault over Kashmiris and Pakistan’s water lifeline of which there is incontrovertible evidence including the US-based ‘Genocide Watch’ alert warning.
Indian pontification that its move of annexation was to usher opportunities for the State hitherto deprived ought to have found universal support from Kashmiris, but instead even its puppets now consider it a grave mistake to have sided with India when the truth lay in Jinnah’s two Nation Theory. If Indian assertion was true, why deploy over a hundred thousand additional troops, arrest Kashmiri Leadership, evacuate Hindu Yatrees, shut Internet and impose curfew in Kashmir disallowing foreign observers and journalists. An unhindered UN fact-finding Mission to Kashmir is required post haste, which Pakistan welcomes on its side any time.
Revoking its own provision of a special status to Kashmir which Pakistan does not recognize anyway, but particularly striking down its constitutional provision of 35-A describing and protecting identity and rights of Kashmiris, is aimed at changing Kashmir’s demography which only reflects India’s frustration and moral defeat; as its own population has described it as “loss of Kashmir and beginning of the end for India”; Time, only for the UN to act and deliver justice. The international Press continues “……Modi claims a new era has begun. Kashmiris see only a new calamity.”…..
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.