Dr Syed Nazir Gilani;
Indian call for permanently removing the issue of Jammu and Kashmir under the “outdated agenda item” of the “India-Pakistan question” from the Security Council’s agenda, is a new and very dangerous development at the UN Security Council. Pakistani diplomats at the United Nations Friday brushed it aside as “outlandish”. The foreign office of Pakistan has tweeted that “India-Pakistan Question” is one of the oldest items on UNSC agenda. The Question remains on the agenda since India has never implemented UNSC Resolutions on J&K dispute. India continues to deny Kashmiris inalienable right to self-determination enshrined in UNSC Resolutions”. There is a tit for tat from both sides and so far so
good. Is there any merit in Indian call? The answer is no. Right of Self-Determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is fully insulated and protected under Article 1 (2) of UN Charter. The right has been recently reiterated in the June 2018 and July 2019 reports of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, it is not as simple as explained by foreign office in Islamabad or by the Pakistani diplomats at the UN in New York. India would be sitting in the Security Council for two years from January 2021 and her diplomats have begun a diplomatic offensive. There are dangers ahead. India has always caught Pakistan unprepared and has taken full advantage of its nap. Although Pakistan Mission in New York in its letter dated 2 January 2020 has notified the UN Security Council that “Pakistan would like to see “The India-Pakistan question” and “The Hyderabad question” retained on the list of matters of which the Security Council is seized”, yet we should not hesitate to admit that it was our negligence that “India- Pakistan Question” lost its regular character in August 1996. We are not out of the woods so far. India is a deceitful competitor. She secured Pakistan’s vote for its seat at the UN SC and has turned turtle, well
ahead of her taking a place at the UN Security Council in January 2021 It was hit by simplification process carried out under Rule 11 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council and deleted from the agenda, as a regular item. It was rehabilitated under the annual request provision. Pakistan has to refresh a request every year to the UN SC to retain Jammu and Kashmir on the agenda. We are not out of the woods so far. India is a deceitful competitor. She secured Pakistan’s vote for its seat at the UN SC and has turned turtle, well ahead of her taking a place at the UN Security Council in January 2021. Pakistan’s Mission in New York and foreign office in Islamabad, have run a routine statement. It does not offer a pointed response. Pakistan foreign office needs to dust its narrative and perfect it. India cannot succeed in her call for a number of reasons. As a start both India and Pakistan have petitioned the UN SC under article 35 of the UN Charter. The main purpose has been to seek a UN supervised vote on the conditional and contested accession. In fact on 15 January 1948 India has surrendered the conditional accession at the UN Security Council for a reference to the free vote of the people. China as one of the permanent members of the Security Council, has highlighted a peculiar feature of Kashmir Case at the 765th meeting of SC held on 24 January 1957. In Para 68 China has said,
“This dispute has another peculiar feature. From the very beginning, the Council began with an agreement between two parties. In fact, before the two parties directly concerned ever appeared before the Council, the two parties agreed that the plebiscite should be the answer. What did the Council do? The Council tried to build a solution on this prior agreement that the two parties had before they came to this Council. So the idea of a plebiscite was not imposed by the Council on the two parties.” China has continued to add in Para 69, “In their public statements the statesmen of both countries, India and Pakistan, have stated that they would be willing to let the wishes of the people of Kashmir decide the future of that State. In this Council, in his very first statement in January 1948, the representative of India, Mr. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, had this to say: “The question of the future status of Kashmir vis-a-vis her neighbours and the world at large, and a further question, namely, whether she should withdraw from her accession to India, and either accede to Pakistan or remain independent, with a right to claim admission as a Member of the United Nations- all this we have recognized to be a matter for unfettered decision by the people of Kashmir, after normal life is restored to them.” [227th meeting, p.29.] United Kingdom another permanent member of the UN SC has said that “Kashmir was the
greatest and gravest single issue in international affairs”. United Kingdom has further said that “”The ultimate objective of a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations ….has been written into solemn agreements by the two Governments and endorsed by this Security Council. These agreements have been affirmed and reaffirmed by the two governments many times.” United States of America, the third permanent member has said “The Security Council will, ‘always welcome any agreement which the parties themselves can reach on any basis which will settle the dispute, provided of course that, that basis is consistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Security
Council had a ‘positive duty’ and ‘unless the parties are able to agree upon some other solution, the solution which was recommended by the Security Council should prevail.” Indian indulgence into coercive diplomacy has no future. It cannot override the express commitments of permanent and non- permanent members of UN Security Council. Pakistan could respond by seeking the expulsion or suspension of India from the UN as a member state. Pakistan has an option to mount a challenge to Indian seat in the SC. India attracts a serious reprimand under the Charter.
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.