Ambassador of Kashmir and need for a course correction

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani,

Prime Minister of Pakistan keeps enormous confidence and holds on to a convincing narrative, in his defence of the aggressed people of the Valley. After the UN General Assembly speech, he has continued to use all available occasions to flag the Indian suppression. So far, so good and he should be commended. Is that enough, to secure the badly needed relief for the people in the Valley of Kashmir? The answer is no.
At the outset he has to incorporate a substantive content in his narrative and discourage a new class of ‘beneficiaries’. There is an emerging evidence that the crisis is throwing up a new class of beneficiaries, who have trivialised the gravity of the situation and are engaged in indoor and outdoor, activities, far remote from any benefit to the people in the Valley.
Every effort should be made that activities proportionate to the crisis are encouraged, in Azad Kashmir, in Pakistan and outside. It would be sinning against the suffering people and against our future generations, if we do not put an end to the culture of ‘political tourism.’ This government has made a good beginning at the UN General Assembly and has to build upon that impact. It has remained the considered opinion at the UN Security Council that “The party that would dare to violate an agreement thus reached would load upon itself a very grave offence against the other party, against the United Nations, and against the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination, a right which, in other contexts, both parties have so often and so eloquently defended.” India as a party to the UN Security resolutions and Kashmir Case has loaded upon itself a “grave offence” against another party, namely, Pakistan, against the United Nations and against the right of “self-determination” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The commission of this grave offence demands an entirely different response, than holding of small  seminars or allowing a quid pro quo to various interest groups, to offer hospitality to each other in Pakistan or outside Pakistan, camouflaged as a legitimate activity. We should avoid to hurt the interests of the Kashmiri people, as we have done in the past. The militancy aspect of the Kashmir struggle was disowned in the four point formula of President Musharraf and the political capability of Hurriet could not match the offer made by
Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in February 1994 while in Burkina Faso. He announced that he was “ready to grant autonomy to Kashmir, and that sky was the limit.” If we had accepted the offer of ‘sky as the limit’ as an interim adhoc offer, and decided to tread carefully therefrom towards, a further climb ‘beyond the sky’, it would have been possible. We still had UN Security Council resolutions and Pakistan on our side, to go beyond the sky. Our quid pro quo to India was that at the sixth Kashmir Conference in Washington in July 2006, the final Declaration refused to mention the word ‘self-determination’ and introduced the concept of ‘self-governance’. We know that local governments in United Kingdom and many other Municipal Committees have self-governance.
The new template of indoor and outdoor seminars and conferences, started post 5 August 2019, are no different, to the culture of Kashmir conferences, promoted until things went terribly wrong for us in Washington, Brussels and London. The comment by late Khalid Hassan, titled Postcard USA dated August 6, 2006 reveals all that happened at this sixth Kashmir conference in Washington and people involved. Government of Pakistan and of Azad Kashmir, should find a useful role for the 12 assembly members elected from amongst these Kashmiri refugees for the assembly of Azad Kashmir and for the 1 assembly member elected from the overseas Kashmiris The choice is open for the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan and others who subscribe a genuine interest in the just struggle of the people of Kashmir to either examine the Indian ‘grave offence’ under the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions on Kashmir Case or to roller skate a hybrid activity, like “Washington Conferences plus” to keep people engaged and consign the Valley to Indian “strong state  doctrine” of using brute force and kill as many Kashmiris as possible. We were warned of this “doctrine” by Yashwant Sinha in December 2018. Unfortunately, we failed to listen to his warning. Even if we continue with our ‘political tourism’ and err to hurt the Kashmir Case, continue with our indoor and outdoor seminars and conferences, patronage a class of interest group, as beneficiaries of this tragedy, it would not make any exacting difference. To stop India from hurting the demography in Kashmir, we need to prepare an electoral register of 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees living in various provinces of Pakistan, the Kashmiri diaspora and notify the United Nations Security Council about the right of return granted to these people in paras 12 and 14 of UN Security Council resolution 47 of 21 April 1948. Government of Pakistan should encourage the return of these Kashmiris, en mass, to defeat any Indian design to settle non Kashmiris in the State. Government of Pakistan and Government of Azad Kashmir, should find a useful role for the 12 assembly members elected from amongst these Kashmiri refugees for the assembly of Azad Kashmir and for the 1 assembly member elected from the overseas Kashmiris. These 13 members in the Azad Kashmir assembly, are a strong representation within the UNCIP resolutions and could be used as a team to further the cause of Kashmir. At this point they have earned the notoriety as yo-yo’s ever ready as an instrument of subversive politics.
There is need to short-list issues. A start could be made with challenging the role of Indian forces, as provided in the Governor General’s letter of 27 October 1947 and UN Security Council Resolution 47. In this regard the three UN Reports, two of OHCHR and the third by UN Secretary General are on the side of the people of Kashmir. A further important and favorable evidence of Indian undertaking is the telegram of 7 November 1947 from Prime Minister of United Kingdom Clement Attlee addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, that Indian forces would be withdrawn as soon as law and order is restored and people will have a right to express their will through a UN supervised Plebiscite. We could highlight the report of the Autonomy Committee appointed by Jammu and Kashmir Government in 1996, published in July 2000. The report has informed India that the State had a limited accession with it and had never merged in the Union of India. The report was adopted by both houses of the assembly. All this could be highlighted in the context of UN jurisprudence on the holding of a Plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. August 5 and 31 October 2019 actions by the
Government of India are a grave violation of UN Security Council resolution of 30 March 1951. United Nations was about to hold a Plebiscite by first November 1950 and we need to prepare our case on the points that favour us and seek a convincing rebuttal to any adverse claims made by India. Government of Azad Kashmir, Kashmiri experts, Government of Pakistan and Pakistani experts, experts from diaspora (including non-Kashmiris as well), experts from the United Nations and others, need to be brought on a common platform, to consider, the kind of action, that USA had started in August 1951, by preparing its document titled “Kashmir Dispute and Future Action”, for a reference to be made to International Court of Justice. This preparation could incorporate the proposal made in para 4 and 5 of Prime Minister of United Kingdom’s telegram of 22 November 1947, to check with the President of ICJ for referring Kashmir dispute to   ‘international experts’. We could check with the US and UN Security Council, on the argument that “the Security
Council has a positive duty to assist the parties in finding a just and equitable solution”. It has been duly held at the UN Security Council that, “unless the parties are able to agree upon some other solutions, the solution which was  recommended by the Security Council should prevail, which is that there should be a plebiscite.” We need to push for a UN force in Kashmir or propose an addition in the UNMOGIP already there. UN Security Council has held that sovereignty of India or of Pakistan is not involved in the proposal to send a United Nations force into the State of Jammu and Kashmir for a temporaryand limited purpose.” It has also been clarified that, “Under the circumstances and pending the holding of a plebiscite, neither India nor Pakistan can claim any sovereignty over the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” Prime Minister Imran Khan, has the ability, to enlarge the constituency of support for the people of Kashmir. There is need for a course correction.

(The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations)

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