Published On: Mon, Oct 16th, 2017

Demilitarization in Kashmir – Hurriet failure?

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

nazir-gilaniHurriet came on the scene of Kashmir politics in early 1990s and adopted a political discipline on 31 July 1993. Under Chapter II article 2 (i) of its constitution, Hurriet had to seek for the exercise of the right of self-determination, “in accordance with the UN Charter and the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.”The Indian case at the UN, reply filed by Pakistan, debates at the UN Security Council meetings, UN Security Council resolutions and reports submitted by Mr. Frank P Graham United Nations Representative for India and Pakistan had done 99% ground work for Hurriet.

The most important of these works was Graham’s definition of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In his report submitted at the 570thmeeting of UN Security Council on 17 January 1952, Graham called the people “a people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life-giving waters.” Graham described Kashmiri habitat as, “The valleys are set like gems in the midst of mountains which surround the land and the people and which look down upon them from untold ages of history and from the highest majesty of this earth.” UN Representative for India and Pakistan highlighted the plural society of Jammu and Kashmir and said, “These people, Moslems, Hindus, Sikhs and Christian, as farmers, craftsmen and artists, small shopkeepers, boatmen, bearers and other workers in areas now on both sides of the cease-fire-line, have been, through the centuries, the victims of exploitation and conflict.”

Graham had made politics easy for Hurriet as on 31 July 1993. He had provided a lead for Hurriet to follow upon. Graham in his report to the UN Security Council on 17 January 1952 has stated, “The recognition of the rights and dignity, the security and the self-determination of these historic people, under the auspices of the United Nations, might well become a challenging example of the progressive values of self-determination to the dependent peoples of the earth.”

Under Chapter II article 2 (i) of its constitution Hurriet had to defend the “rights and dignity, the security and the self-determination of these historic people.” It has failed to do so. After 24 years of a constitutional politics, Hurriet and the people have a cause to revisit the stock of our successes and failures in the discharge of a constitutional pledge. It seems that our ‘rights’, ‘dignity’, ‘security’ and the ‘self-determination’, as understood by Graham an American citizen in 1952, have not been understood and defended by Hurriet from 31 July 1993 to October 2017. The reason being that Hurriet as a collective and severally as constituents, are not anywhere near to the individual wisdom of Frank P Graham or the country representatives who took part in debates at the UN Security Council and authored the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. Hurriet does not have any mechanism to guide it on UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir. It is likely to fail in any engagement with India, Pakistan or world at large.

Hurriet has lost out on another clue provided at the 606 meeting of the UN Security Council by United Kingdom representative Mr. Gladwyn Jebb in relation to the role of people. Mr. Gladwyn said, “Efforts of the people of Kashmir on both sides of the cease fire line and indeed, of the peoples of India and Pakistan also, would be concentrated on the task of organizing the methods and procedures to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to express freely their wishes…” We have witnessed that Hurriet focussed more on contacts with the Governments of India and Pakistan and failed to address the roles of various peoples identified by the United Nations.

Hurriet failed to flag the United Nations Representative’s findings that, “The people of Jammu and Kashmir through a free and impartial plebiscite would signal through the darkness of these times a ray of hope that, not by bullets but by ballots, not through conflict of armies but through co-operation of peoples, is the enduring way for people to determine their own destiny and way of life.” The non-knowledge of Kashmir case and the UN Resolutions has proved fatal and we are yet to resuscitate the dying body politics.

What is our objective? Has Hurriet interpreted it correctly since 31 July 1993 or ever sat down to take a stock of their performance? The objective has been explained by UK representative Sir Gladwyn Jebb at the 606 meeting of the UN Security Council on 6 November 1952. This explanation binds India and Pakistan into an international obligation on Kashmir. Sir Gladwyn Jebb explains the objective as, “The ultimate objective of a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations has, after all, 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 during the last three and a half years. The transformation of this agreement into the reality of the actual voting ought not to present insuperable difficulties. We have recently seen the tremendous achievement – if I may say so, with respect – of the Government of India in organizing and carrying through a fully democratic election throughout itsvast territory. From this great example it is clear that the will of the people of Kashmir and Jammu in this question of accession could be ascertained without any insuperable difficulty.”

Hurriet under its constitution had to carry the work forward from the point highlighted by United States representative to the UN Security Council at the 571st meeting on 30 January 1952. US representative flagged the word “agreed” – and not an imposed solution for three questions: “first, a definite period for demilitarization; secondly, the scope of demilitarization and quantum of forces that will remain at the end of the period of demilitarization; thirdly, the day for the formal induction into office of the Plebiscite Administrator”.
Kashmir case came to a halt on the question of demilitarization, in particular, on the character and number of armed forces on either side of cease fire line. Hurriet should have studied the merits of India and Pakistan positions on demilitarization and the position advocated by the United Nations. India and Pakistan have agreed to a demilitarization. At the 608 meeting of the UN Security Council on 8 December 1952 Indian representative Mrs. Pandit explained the Indian position as, “..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. 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. I should like to emphasise that this figure, which includes the former State armed forces, represents less than one-sixth of the Indian forces at the time of the cease-fire. It should further be emphasised that this force will have no supporting arms such as armour or artillery.”
UN Representative for India and Pakistan has proposed between 3,000 and 6,000 armed forces to remain on the Pakistani side of cease fire line and between 12,000 and 18,000 armed forces to remain on the Indian side of cease fire line. The justification given by India for an increased number of armed forces was to “safe-guard law and order, the integrity of the cease-fire-line and security of the territory on each side of that line.” The argument on the character and number of armed forces advanced in 1952, has lost its appreciation and needs to be re-appreciated differently in 2017. However, the Indian argument of keeping an increased number of armed forces on its side of the cease fire line has not been fully entertained by the United Nations.
United Kingdom came out with a strong defence of equitable demilitarization. UK representative at the 606 meeting of the UN Security Council on 6 November 1952 in para 27 has found the Indian argument, as a condition not compatible with the idea of a ‘free plebiscite’. Sir Gladwyn Jebb said,“I have mentioned earlier that at no stage should demilitarization involve a threat to the cease-fire agreement. This would mean that the forces of each side of the cease-fire line should be, broadly speaking of the same kind. I should make. it dear that the United Kingdom Government has never thought that the proposal to limit the forces on the Pakistan side of the cease-fire line to an armed civil force while leaving a military force on the other side of the cease-fire line was consistent with a really free plebiscite. I hope that representatives will join me in urging that the parties should resolve any differences they may still have on this point in the way which I have suggested.”
Hurriet in the last 24 years has not advocated the Kashmir case as it has taken upon to advocate under Chapter II article 2 (i) of its constitution adopted on 31 July 1993. It has visited Islamabad and Delhi and has maintained regular contacts with the authorities on both sides of cease fire line. It has no contact with the people identified by the United Nations and has no narrative to disprove the Indian narrative of separatism and terrorism. The four point out of box Musharraf formula has boxed Hurriet and has made it extremely weak and vulnerable.
The sufferings of the last 25 years, People’s uprising of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 have not been converted to shake the quiet of Foreign Missions in Delhi and the decent people of India have not taken notice of the human rights violations being committed by Indian security forces in Kashmir Valley. Hurriet has to re-do its Kashmir narrative and remind India, Pakistan and the world, what United Kingdom representative Sir Gladwyn Jebb said at the 606th meeting of UN Security Council on 6 November 1952. He said, “Isitthereforetoomuchtohopethatthetwogovernmentscannowresolvetheirdifferencesandshow by examplehowthepreceptswhichtheUnitedNationsfrequentlyaffirmscanbeputintopracticaleffectandmadetheinstrumentofa political settlement which would not only satisfy the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but would also add greatly, as weall know, to the happiness, prosperity and security of peoples through out the free world.”

Hurriet has to unbox itself and ask itself whether it has defended the “rights and dignity, the security and the self-determination of these historic people”, referred by United Nations as “a people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life-giving waters.”Hurriet has to move from an event based politics to the jurisprudence of the case. It needs to pick up the issue of demilitarization from where it has been left by the parties and challenge the number, behaviour and location of Indian security forces in Kashmir.

The author is the President of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN Register as an Expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. Author could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

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