Indian army attack on UNMOGIP vehicle – A new low

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Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
After careful examination and assessment by its experts, the Government of India had come to the conclusion that a minimum force of 28,000 was required to carry out its responsibilities.” Indian representative added, “However, on complete disbandment and disarmament of the Azad Kashmir forces, and as a further contribution towards a settlement, the Government of India is prepared to effect a further reduction of 7,000 to a figure of 21,000 which is absolute and irreducible minimum…. It should further be emphasised that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery. (Indian representative Mrs. Pandit at the 608 meeting    of the UN Security Council on 8 December 1952). If Kashmiri and Pakistani leadership had played their cards right at the UN Security Council, we would have had 21,000 non-arms bearing Indian soldier on the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir. Our elderly women with sticks and “Kangris” would have been able to chase these 21,000 soldiers out of Kashmir, at any time. We were amoebic in action and forgetful of coming tomorrows. As a consequence we are faced with a dangerously equipped 900,000 Indian soldiers today. These 21,000 soldiers would not have slaughtered a generation of Kashmiri youth and would not have been keeping the people under siege from 5 August 2019. Indian army over the years has been allowed to swell in number and our negligence to keep a watch has emboldened it, to violate the 4 elements of duty agreed at the time of their temporary admission into Kashmir on 27 October 1947 and our relaxed attitude at the UN SC has encouraged them to violate the three stipulations contained in UN SC Resolution 47 of 21 April 1948. India already has an ongoing operation run through 750 media outlets, 550 Domains in around 119 countries against Pakistan Indian army does not have a no holds barred freedom in Jammu and Kashmir. It is temporary as a supplement and a sub-ordinate force. Even the last Indian soldier could have been ordered out of Kashmir, if the UN Plebiscite Administrator and the J and K Government had felt able to maintain law and order during the UN supervised Plebiscite. In accordance with Para 2 © of the Resolution Indian Government has to carry out the stationing of the reduced remaining forces in accordance with the following three principles: (i)That the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State; (ii) That as small a number as possible should be retained in forward areas; (iii) That any reserve of troops which may be included in the total strength should be located within their present base area. If we had played our cards right, the 21,000 non-arms bearing soldiers were no threat to the people, would have no capacity to put them under siege and surely would have had no nerve to fire at the UNMOGIP vehicles, as reported by DG ISPR on Friday 18 December 2020. This is the ultimate sin committed by the Indian army and very rightly termed as a ‘new low’ by the Director General ISPR. Government of Azad Kashmir and the Government of Pakistan have to make hard choices, either to remain steadfast in support of the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir or to settle with the new policy enforced by Government of India on 5 August 2019. In the latter case Muzaffarabad and Islamabad would have to work out a quid pro quo and scratch each other’s back for a cover up. It would be a betrayal and unfair because we have assured the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir of our support and have encouraged them to take on Indian military might, which in turn precipitated the slaughter of a generation. Today in 2020 Kashmir is not the same as we had it in January 1990. People in the Valley would have a serious grievance against their local leadership, political and militant, against Government of Muzaffarabad and more so against the Government of Pakistan. Owning up to an enforced status quo and allowing Indian military aggression, political vandalism and cultural invasion of 5 August 2019 in its part of Jammu and Kashmir, is a disastrous option. It will engulf Azad Kashmir into  a serious unrest and will pose a serious threat to the constitutional arrangement between AJK and Pakistan made under UNCIP Resolutions. As a start after consolidating its position in Jammu and Kashmir, India would feel encouraged under the resolution passed by Indian parliament in February 1994, to reclaim Azad Kashmir, as the ‘integral part’ of India. Pakistan has a choice, to either invoke the caution given to India and J & K Government in UN Resolution 91 of 30 March 1950 and hold her accountable as an offending State before the world or offer her a white flag. The latter choice would infuriate the Kashmiris who have rejected the Indian Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao’s offer of 4 November 1995 made at Burkina Faso that “Sky is the limit” in Indian offer to Kashmiri people. Pakistan’s constituency in the Indian administered Kashmir, would not welcome the U-turn. India already has an ongoing operation run through 750 media outlets, 550 Domains in around 119 countries against Pakistan. It would encourage dissenting Kashmiri and Pakistani voices all around the world and the stir would impact the habitat of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan. Pakistan would become target of a renewed Indian interest. Abdullah family would have never dreamed that New Delhi will come for them one day. The tweet by Omar Abdullah of 19 December lamenting that his father’s properties have been attached as the consequence of a probe, is an eye opener. People of Kashmir would at some point love to see these leaders pay for their love for power and continued quid pro quos with New Delhi. People would equally go after other leaders who asked them to support the gun and the Hurriet, on the promise of ‘Azadi’. The latter category of leaders is already in Tihar jail facing financial and other investigations. There may be no merit in any financial or commercial gains made by Hurriet or militant leadership, but the common man and woman would be very angry about any hue of corruption or personal gains. Government of Azad Kashmir and Government of Pakistan run a serious risk of losing credibility, if they do not return to the their joint responsibilities agreed under UNCIP Resolutions and fail to lay their finger at the point where the holding of a Plebiscite has been left. UN mechanism provides for a way forward, if the two countries continue to wrangle. In addition to many other options, the principal notification is that, “UN SC has 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”.

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