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UN’s obligation towards Kashmir

Kashmir conflict has multiple aspects, intertwined in a way that their separation is neither possible technically nor academically. These aspects could be grouped under two broad categories, moral and security related issues.

UN’s obligation towards Kashmir
UN’s obligation towards Kashmir

It would be naïve to venture into separating the two on one pretext or the other. Kashmir being predominantly Muslim majority princely state was seen as part of Pakistan even at the visionary level, when Chaudhry Rehamt Ali coined the acronym Pakistan in 1933. Letter “K” represents Kashmir in the acronym, and due to its national security implications, Quaid-e-Azam had termed it as jugular vein of Pakistan. Legal position of Pakistan with regard to Kashmir is quite secure since the UNSC Resolution 47 of 1948 and over a dozen subsequent resolutions supporting this foundational resolution, latest of which came on June 06, 1998 (UNSC R 1172) in the aftermath of overt nuclearization by India and Pakistan that “Urges India and Pakistan to resume the dialogue between them on all outstanding issues, particularly on all matters pertaining to peace and security, in order to remove the tensions between them, and encourages them to find mutually acceptable solutions that address the root causes of those tensions, including Kashmir”. People of Kashmir look up to Great Britain’s partition plan of 1946 as reference document. Plan had meticulously laid down the criterion for princely states. Any effort to advocate any alternative approach has always been met with fierce resistance and hence remained still born; be it Musharraf’s Four Points’ nonsense or anything else.  Knowing the absurdity of the initiative, the entire back door process during Musharraf was kept shrouded in mystery.  UNSC R 47 continues to be a legally valid and binding instrument unless replaced by an alternative UN instrument under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

The UN has, by and large, remained mindful of the gravity of Kashmir conflict, most of its Secretary Generals, at one occasion or the other, have been offering their good offices for resolving the conflict. Pakistan has always accepted these offers with grace while India has always rejected such offers out of its misplaced hubris. India’s state of denial has neither reduced the gravity of the dispute nor dampened the emotive attachment to it by Kashmiris and Pakistani peoples.

During the 72nd UNGA session, Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s address to the UNGA, meetings and the sidelines interactions afforded opportunity to forcefully highlight the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, grave human rights violations in IoK at the hands of Indian occupation forces and Indian involvement in terrorism, terror financing, subversive activities and use of Afghan soil to launch terrorist attacks with the help of TTP, JuA and other terrorist outfits based in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister also submitted a comprehensive dossier on HR Violations in IoK to the UN Secretary General during his visit the UN. UK’s Prime Minister, in her address to the UNGA recognized and mentioned Pakistan’s sufferings due to terrorism.

During the 36th Session of Human Rights Council in Geneva, banners were displayed along the road leading to the venue of session drawing attentions towards HR violations in IoK. HR situation in IoK is constantly deteriorating. During the recent ten days or so, more than ten Kashmiris have been martyred and scores have been injured. Around 700 innocent Kashmiris have been booked under the draconian law PSA since July 2016. Illegal detention of Kashmiri Leaders in inhuman and life threatening conditions continue in violation of all the relevant International Conventions on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws.

Each year on the eve of ministerial session of the UNGA Kashmiris from all over the world participate in rallies at the UN, New York, to remind the World body about its obligations towards Kashmir. This year also hundreds of Kashmiri Americans held a huge rally during the speech of the Indian Foreign minister to the General Assembly.  Some of the slogans they raised are: “India: Honor UN Pledges”; “Freedom for all, Freedom for Kashmir”; “Indian Forces: Out of Kashmir”; “Time to Resolve Kashmir Dispute Now”; “Kashmir: The Nuclear Flashpoint”; “No Justice, No Peace”. Rally participants demanded of the UN to fulfill its obligation regarding right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir.

The people of Jammu Kashmir are being killed, maimed, tortured, and jailed. They are being haunted, wounded, and humiliated for reminding India and the international community to fulfill their pledges made to the people of Jammu Kashmir. The UN despite being aware about the disappointing, dismal and shameful track record of human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, by Indian security forces,  has failed to impress upon India to reign in its trigger-happy soldiers and stop killings in the state. Custodial killing, enforced disappearances and rape as a weapon of war are the hallmarks of Indian occupation forces in Kashmir. All basic rights and civil liberties of Kashmiris residing in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been snatched by Indian forces. There is no freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Peaceful protests are responded to by brute force. Bullets and pellets are indiscriminately used against the peaceful protests. The Indian forces are present in every nook and corner, thus turning Jammu & Kashmir into a virtual prison. Kashmir once called a paradise on Earth has become a place of misery, sorrow, death and destruction. Global experts of the international relations correctly characterize the unflagging freedom struggle in Kashmir from Indian occupying powers as traumatic because of the nuclear capabilities of India and Pakistan.

Amnesty International has published an exclusive 112-page report entitled “Losing sight in Kashmir: The impact of pellet-firing shot guns” containing pictures of pellet-guns victims with their emotions recorded. On November 08, 2016, The Guardian reported: “There is no recorded instance of a modern democracy systematically and willfully shooting at people to blind them”. Earlier, with reference to the use of pellet guns by Indian occupation forces on peaceful Kashmiri protesters in IoK, the New York Times had published an article captioned “An Epidemic of Dead Eyes in Kashmir as India Uses Pellet Guns on protesters”. While citing heart-rending scenes of pellet guns victims, as young as 8 years old, the article concluded that: “2016 will almost certainly be remembered as the year of dead eyes”.

According to Hindustan Times, a hawkish Indian analyst, Professor Bharat Karnad, has admitted that Indian spy agency RAW uses TTP against Pakistan. He has underscored the point that India would never severe its relations with TTP not only because TTP is getting financial support from India but also that TTP is facilitating Indian terrorist agency RAW’s connectivity to other terrorist outfits based in Afghanistan.

Reportedly, Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat, has once again said that cross-LoC surgical strikes of last year were a message to Pakistan, and hinted at more such strikes if necessary. Pakistan had taken international media to the areas mentioned by India (for surgical strikes), to prove that there was no truth in the Indian claims. Noteworthy to mention is that international media reports also supported the Pakistani rebuttal after visiting those areas and meeting the people there. Even then comic general continues to insist that such strikes did take place—Bipin be happy in your own paradise!

India cannot be and should not be allowed to imperil global peace. Addressing the UN directly, All Parties Hurriat Conference (APHC) Chairman, Syed Ali Gillani said in his message to the rally held outside the UN headquarters. “It is your bounden duty to take de-novo cognizance of Kashmir immediately as tensions center on the India-Pakistan border, otherwise the august body shall be failing in its obligations under the Charter”. The UNSG needs to respond to these calls unless it too late.

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