Published On: Mon, Feb 29th, 2016

‘Pakistan lacks viable Kashmir Policy’?

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

This article takes further and examines the merits of the views expressed by Director General Strategic Studies Institute and MNA Dr. Shireen M Mazari published in some daily English newspapers in Islamabad on Friday February 26, 2016 on Pakistan’s Kashmir policy. While addressing a workshop for the MNAs titled “Pakistan and Global Strategic Environment” at Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services, Dr. Mazari regretted that Pakistan currently lacks a viable Kashmir policy, which is the first and foremost step Pakistan should take for the resolution of conflict.

One may wish concur with the view that ‘Pakistan lacks viable Kashmir Policy’ in the interests of four Kashmiris distributed under three administrations at Srinagar, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and the fourth a strong diaspora spread all over the world. A good Kashmir policy is in the interests of peace and progress in India and Pakistan and the region as well. Currently the common people of Jammu and Kashmir have to endure a burden of five Governments (three Kashmir and 2 of India and Pakistan) and need to reconcile their lives according to five constitutions as well. There is a huge interference in their lives from surveillance agencies and almost every single individual in the Jammu and Kashmir is indexed for a security clearance.

A clue how the Indian intelligence remains overwhelming in J&K has been confirmed by former RAW chief A. S. Dulat in his book at page 205 titled “Kashmir The Vajpayee Years”. He writes, “The IB had a sinister reputation in the Kashmiri mind. Part of it was because since Independence, the IB had basically been running Kashmir, advising the home minister on whatever happened there”.

In general it would be fair to say that Pakistani academics part perform their duty and partly perpetuate an ignorance or an undeclared Government policy on Kashmir. The first and foremost question that arises as a common priority, is whether Pakistan has a Kashmir policy. The first answer would be yes and the second immediate question would be whether it has followed it since 01 January 1948 or since 15 January 1948 when Pakistan filed her defence against Indian complaint lodged with the UN Security Council.

There is a policy on Kashmir but Pakistani Governments have been lazy and slack in their attendant duties in respect of UN mechanism on Kashmir and on outsourced duties under UN Resolutions, Constitution of Pakistan and the Constitutional arrangements with the PaK government. Foreign office of Pakistan too has continued to share this ‘let go’ attitude of political Governments on Kashmir. The first error of judgment made by the foreign office in particular Kashmir desk was that it failed to flag for the attention of political Government in recent years, that Indian-Pakistan Question was not raised at the UN Security Council for about 31 years and 2 months, that is, from 5 November 1965 to 15 September 1996. In September 1996 Kashmir lost its regularity at the UN Security Council agenda, which it had enjoyed in perpetuity for 48 years from January 1948 to September 1996.

It was hit by rule 11 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council and deleted from the agenda. However, such deleted matters are allowed “to be provisionally retained in the list of matters which the Security Council is seized for a period of one year if a Member of the United Nations notifies its objection to its deletion before 15 September 1996”.

Ever since Pakistan has arranged to notify the Security Council under this reminder provision that it wants Indian-Pakistan Question (Kashmir) to be retained on the agenda. This year Pakistan notified the UN Security Council on 7 January 2016 that it wants to retain three questions, namely, The India-Pakistan question, The Hyderabad question and The situation in the India/Pakistan subcontinent on the agenda.

Although the present Government (Prime Minister) and the military leaderships (Army Chief) have reiterated the Pakistan Kashmir policy at the 69th and 70th sessions of UN General Assembly and at the Youm-i-Shohada in April 2014 and at RUSI (The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies) in October 2015 in London respectively, yet it is not enough.

Governments in Islamabad and their support units in the foreign offices and other disciplines working on Kashmir have not addressed the issue of outsourced work by UN to Government at Srinagar and India in relation to a free reference of the people of Kashmir under UN supervision. Pakistan Governments have failed to pressure the Government of Kashmir at Srinagar to set up a neutral, inclusive and responsible Government (with representations from PaK and Gilgit and Baltistan) to carry out the work outsourced to it by the UN for self-determination. Pakistan Governments have failed to highlight and pressure Srinagar Government that it is under a caution of UN SC Resolution of 30 March 19501, reminding it that it is elected from “only a part of the whole territory of Jammu and Kashmir” and therefore not fully representative to take any one sided call in violation of UN mechanism on Kashmir.

These Governments further failed to monitor the presence of Indian army in the Valley and point out to the United Nations on a regular basis, that Indian forces that were allowed a temporary admission in the State as a sub-ordinate force to defend the territory, protect life, property and honour of the people have in fact turned into a force that is at war with the people. Governments in Pakistan and PaK failed to flag for the attention of United Nations and other world forums that Indian army was engaged in massive violation of human rights and more so was violating the curbs placed on its number, behaviour and location in the UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948. Indian army has no other role except providing support to Srinagar in matters of law and order, so that the former could prepare a peaceful environment for the arrangements of a plebiscite under the supervision of the United Nations.

It is almost 68 years since Indian soldier was entrusted to be an aid in law and order situation. Things have changed and jurisprudence of this duty may be looked upon with recent developments. United Nations could investigate whether Srinagar Government needs the presence and assistance of Indian army any more. In the light of the fact that Indian soldier is engaged in a low intensity war with the people of Kashmir Valley, UN may consider its own military presence there.

On the Pakistan side of Kashmir, Pakistan “in the discharge of its responsibilities under UNCIP Resolution” has introduced a Constitutional arrangement in the affairs with the Government under the AJK Interim Constitution Act, 1974.It is disappointing to point out that for the For the last 56 years Government of AJK continues to disregard its duties towards Self-Determination under the Act 1960 and Act 1974.

Prime Minister of Pakistan as chairman AJK Council along with his five nominated non-Kashmiri members in the Council  has accepted a  Constitutional duty in the matters of PaK in particular and responsibilities towards the right of self-determination under UNCIP Resolutions in general. Kashmir policy is that Government of Pakistan would provide for the better Government and administration of PaK until such time as the status of Jammu and Kashmir is determined in accordance with the freely expressed will of the people of the State through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations as envisaged in the UNCIP Resolutions adopted from time to time.

The Pakistan policy on Kashmir has yet to make a move on these subjects shared with the people of Kashmir and in particular act in accordance with the wisdom given in Article 257 of the Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973. Government of Pakistan has assumed responsibilities in PaK under UNCIP Resolution but has continued to fail to activate the UN mechanism on the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The intra-disciplinary interest in Kashmir lacks merit and needs a complete overhaul.

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