Published On: Sun, Jan 6th, 2019

Kashmir – Shireen Mazari VS Lord Nazir Ahmad

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NazirDr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Lord Nazir Ahmad in British Parliament and Dr. Shireen Mazari minister for Human Rights in the present government of Pakistan, have pushed each other into a public debate, around their respective statements on Kashmir. There is a debate on the social media about the rights and wrongs of the two positions. We have people of Pakistani and Kashmiri origin as members of British Parliament. The second Lord of Kashmiri origin in the British Parliament is Lord Qurban Hussain. Both Lords have continued to raise voice in support of the suffering people of Kashmir. If we succeeded to turn our numerical representation in the House of Commons and House of Lords into a qualitative united and reliable voice, it could be a turning point in our diplomacy on Kashmir.

Under normal circumstances one would have ignored the two opposing political views of Lord Nazir Ahmad and Mme Shireen Mazari. The issue of Kashmir and the role of ministers in the government of Pakistan in dealing with Kashmir, has made this debate interesting. Dr. Shireen Mazari is a friend of Kashmir and I have shared her views entitled as “politico-military resolution of the conflict” presented at the International Seminar titled “Fifty Years of the Kashmir Dispute”, which was organised by University of Azad Kashmir, at Muzaffarabad from August 24-25, 1997. She has continued to express herself on Kashmir and has recently very vehemently supported the Kashmir case in the Parliament.We respect her valuable contribution. She has style and diction in these presentations. We reserve the right to check the veracity and merits of her understanding of Kashmir case.

Dr. Mazari’s reply to Lord Nazir in a Tweet needs examination on merit. Her advice “Britisher Lord Nazir shd stop telling us what we should or should not say on Kashmir” is flawed at core. She has failed in stitching the merits of her argument. Lord Nazir is a Kashmiri State Subject and he has remained a friend of Pakistan as well. He has a higher burden of responsibility on the issue of Kashmir. Whether he has discharged this burden correctly, fully and fairly, remains a subject of debate.

Ministers in the government of Pakistan do not have a carte blanche in taking any positions on Kashmir. Each one of them has a constitutional prescription and binding guidance under article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan. They are not free to interpret article 257 at will. They have to arrange themselves in accordance with Karachi Agreement of April 1949 and conduct themselves in accordance with the duties assumed under UNCIP Resolutions in the affairs of Azad Kashmir, as envisaged in Azad Kashmir Constitutional Act 1974. The assumption of duties in Azad Kashmir, under UNCIP Resolutions, mainly, include to provide “for better Government and administration” until such time that there is a UN supervised vote in Kashmir.

It is an age of argument. Unless we are familiar with the jurisprudence of Kashmir case, we would not be able to help the ongoing armed and political resistance against Indian security forces in Kashmir. Lord Nazir has a point and he has all the authority and relevance to highlight that there is an urgent need to educate ourselves in Azad Kashmir and in Pakistan, around the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. It is not a simple generic statement of demanding the implementation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir but it is a case of “rights and dignity” and “security and self-determinations”. Lord Nazir, Lord Qurban, JKCHR, and other experts living in various geographies could be invited to share their knowledge with ministers in the government of Pakistan and with those in the would be Kashmir Committee who are likely to represent the case.

Having observed politics in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, since the visit of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Azad Kashmir in 1975, there is hardly any doubt about the fact that if we put the members in the government to a test on the issues involved and on the jurisprudence that has evolved from 6 January 1948 when UN Security Council addressed India and Pakistan in identical telegrams to 14 June 2018 OHCHR report on Human Rights situation in Kashmir, majority of them will perform poorly or even fail. Most of the ministers in the government would not be aware that “pending a plebiscite, neither India nor Pakistan can claim sovereignty over the State of  Jammu and Kashmir”.(Para 46 UN Security Council Meeting 773 on 20 February 1957).

Lord Nazir is a State subject and his relevance in respect of Kashmir is covered under UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948. He would have performed well, if he had consulted APHC, AJK leadership, various other schools of opinion, JKCHR, Kashmiri notables living in Azad Kashmir and in various provinces of Pakistan.

It would have helped him to perfect his argument and flag his relevance.
Ministers in the Government of Pakistan do not have a case to argue, if Kashmir case and a State Subject is wronged by their unreliable understanding of the case. It is not a free style wrestling. Some holds are barred by the UN jurisprudence on Kashmir, Constitution of Pakistan, Constitution of Azad Kashmir and Karachi agreement of April 1949. We live in 2019 and it makes us all different to what we would have been in January 1948.

Mme Mazari needs to accept that she remains relevant in Kashmir only if she keep the trust of the State Subjects and convinces us that she has a reliable understanding of the jurisprudence of the case. Lord Nazir too needs to accept that inclusivity has merits and admit that consultation keeps one relevant and perfect.

The writer 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. He is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court. Author could be reached at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.com

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