UN and Kashmiri’s right to self-determination | BY Dr Muhammad Khan


UN and Kashmiri’s right to self-determination

PRIME Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif is addressing the annual session of the United Nations’ General Assembly today (23 Sept).

Apart from other issues, the Kashmir dispute is the most significant subject he is likely to talk about.

While apprising the global leadership about contemporary dimensions of Kashmir dispute, Prime Minister should dwell upon the restoration of pre-5 August 2019 status (special status under Article 370) of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

On 5 August 2019, India unilaterally and illegally annexed IIOJK into the Indian Union while relegating its statehood into union a territory.

The second dimension of Kashmir should be the grant of the right of self-determination to people of Kashmir as promised by the United Nations in its resolutions.

Indeed, the establishment of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) at the end of World War-II was the most noble and extraordinary act undertaken by the global leadership to avoid another catastrophic world war.

The Charter of UNO was further distinguished with the inclusion of an exceptional humanitarian clause; the ‘right of self-determination’ which was unique in nature and can be attributed to Divinity.

Ever since the decolonisation of the subcontinent in 1947, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are demanding their right of self-determination.

Kashmiri trace back this prized right from the resolutions of United Nations which were derivative of it and got accredited from the Charter of this world body.

Owing to its paramount significance, the right of self-determination was secured in article 1 of the UN Charter with a universal application, where Kashmiris cannot be made as an exception and kept deprived of this right for ever.

The global decolonization, started immediately after the establishment of the United Nations (UN) in 1945 owed a lot to the right of self-determination.

This right is the legal right of the people for deciding their future destination. It is the essence of international law, arising from customary international law, secured in a number of international treaties and agreements.

Kashmiri’s right of self-determination is also secured in UN resolutions, treaties and commitments of Indian leadership.

In the light of the UN- mandated right to self-determination, the people of Jammu and Kashmir too had a right to determine their own destiny, their own political status and their own economic, cultural and social development model.

United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) through its Resolution of 5 January 1949 guaranteed a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir with the sole objective of granting the people of Jammu and Kashmiri their right to self-determination.

This is the inalienable right; the people of Jammu and Kashmir had in 1947 and valid today in 2022.

The only obstacle in the exercise of this right is Indian obduracy and its illegal occupation of IIOJK, which has constantly caused a barrier since the passage of UNCIP Resolution on 05 January 1949.

Since its establishment in 1945, the United Nations ensures grant of this right to over 100 states which is clear from UN membership.

The UN had 51 countries as its members in October 1945 and today (in 2022), there are 193 countries forming the member states of this world body.

In all cases, the right of self-determination formed the basis of such a large international community.

The only question, people of Jammu and Kashmir ask today from the UN and its 193 member States that after all why they have been deprived of this inalienable right of self-determination, enshrined in the UN Charter and UN resolutions.

The UNCIP Resolution of 05 January, 1949 was corollary to UNCIP Resolution dated 13 August 1948.

Indeed, after passage of this resolution (13 August 1948), India and Pakistan gave their recommendations for the smooth conduct of plebiscite in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir which were incorporated in the resolution of 05 January 1949.

This UNCIP resolution was unanimously adopted by members of the Commission thus had no confusion in implementation.

Since India took Kashmir dispute to UN on 01 January 1948 on the sole plea that Maharaja of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on 26 October 1947 through an Instrument of Accession.

The reality is quite different, since Maharaja did not sign the instrument before 27 October 1947, the day India invaded the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The UNCIP resolutions (05 August 1948 and 05 January 1949) were indeed the rejection of the Indian stance over Kashmir.

Through these resolutions, the United Nations made Kashmiris as the basic and principal party; the real decision makers for their future political status.

The so-called instrument of accession India presented and used to justify its invasion into the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir was not accepted by the UN as a valid document.

At the UN, two concurrent happenings took place as a result of India reference to Kashmir case; one, Indian efforts to get UN authenticity of its military invasion into IIOJK was rejected and two, the Instrument of Accession was not accepted as the legal document for the accession of the State with the Indian Union.

This happened despite the fact that Lord Mountbatten was still the Governor General of post-colonial India.

India is cognizant of the fact that despite its brutal use of force and massive human rights violations in IIOJK, it can neither suppress the popular will of Kashmiris nor can it deprive them of attaining their long-awaited right of self-determination.

It’s indeed the matter of time and international awakening that Kashmiris will get their right of self-determination.

Nevertheless, as an alternative, India has started making demographic changes in IIOJK which is yet another violation of the UN Charter, UN resolutions on Kashmir, Fourth Geneva Convention and International Law.

At UNGA the Prime Minister of Pakistan must highlight all aspects of Indian illegal occupation and consequent annexation of IIOJK besides massive human rights violation of Kashmiris by 900,000 Indian security forces.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.


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