Published On: Sun, Sep 18th, 2016

Prime Minister can carry the day at UN GA?

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Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

Pakistan and India clash under agenda item 3 at the 33rd session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva did not surprise anyone. However, the use of the “Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination” by a number of NGOs to attack Pakistan surfaced as a surprise. The build-up is yet to come under agenda item 4 and during rest of the general debate.

Away from Geneva, all eyes in Pakistan, India and Jammu and Kashmir are fixed on Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan’s speech that he would be making on 21 September at the UN General Assembly. It is reported that Indian Prime Minister has decided to remain behind and send Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swarajinstead to represent India at the UN General Assembly. Unless Government of India has planned to blend the narrative with female charm, India has tripped a step down.

If Prime Minister of Pakistan succeeds to maintain eye contact with the distinguished audience, blends the strong narrative on the Kashmir case with his relaxed body language, he is destined to carry the day.  We all hope that it would not be a rehashed, copy and paste lazy exercise.World would be told in plain text that Indian soldier has sharpened his killing instinct and Kashmir has been turned into a killing field. A Hindu army has set out to dishonour, disable, blind and kill a Muslim.

Indian army and secret agencies manipulate lives in Kashmir. The former chief of the spy agency RAW writes at page 231 and 232 in his book titled Kashmir-The Vajpayee Years, “Thus the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) is a dirty word not just in Kashmir but in the States in the north-east as well…Yet the AFSPA is linked to the bigger question how much power the army is wielding, and the movement in Kashmir has provided the army an opportunity to expand its presence in J&K. Though the army justifies its heavy deployment by periodically raising the bogie of infiltration, it is not restricted to the border; many Kashmiris feel the army has turned the entire Valley into a cantonment”. He adds, “It’s different thing that nowadays the generals make the army out to be indispensable by offering some theory or another about infiltration and terrorism every six months or so”.

Prime Minister of Pakistan should highlight Indian obligation under Article 2 (3) of the UN Charter and remind the UN GA that if India continues to drag its feet on the investigations carried out under article 34 of the Charter under the instructions of the UN SC and fails to carry out the UN supervised mechanism in arranging a Plebiscite in Kashmir, UN General assembly should consider its role under article 35 and further action could be taken under article 36 (3) that is, the disputes in general should be referred to ICJ. On 20 February 1957 in the India-Pakistan dispute Columbia has proposed that a recommendation be made according to article 36 (3).

It should further be pointed out that US State Department prepared a Memorandum “Kashmir Dispute: Future Action” dated 27 August 1951 and US was inclined to take the matter to ICJ, to knock out India’s principal arguments surrounding its occupation of Kashmir. A similar legal advice was prepared by State Department on 21 September 1965. Pakistan should make a reference to the telegram of British Prime Minister of 22 November 1947 proposing that the matter could be referred to ICJ.

Prime Minister should be categorical in demanding the implementation of the agreed programme of a UN supervised referendum. In this regard Pakistan needs to highlight that it is high time that we test whether India has any constituency in Kashmir. Main stream political parties, which otherwise remain under the caution of UN SC Resolution of 30 March 1951 don’t agree with Indian claim on Kashmir either. The State Autonomy Committee Report has rejected Indian claim that Kashmir has ever merged with India.

UN General Assembly needs to be reminded that India has to discharge its pledges made to
(i) the People of Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir) made at the time of entering the State, (ii) pledges made to Pakistan and (iii) pledges made at the UN Security Council that it would place its temporary entry into the State to a free vote of the people under the supervision of the UN. Indian Government has sought the intervention of the UN Security Council stating that “The question of the future status of Kashmir vis-à-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”.

UN needs to be told that Indian Government has outlived its temporary admission in the State. It is unique opportunity to correct all main mistakes made for 31 years from November 1965 to August 1996 and again for 17 years from June 1997 to September 2014. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif very rightly decided to put an end to the on-going non-interest and decided to agitate Kashmir case at the 69th session of UN General Assembly in New York. While highlighting the atrocities committed by Indian army, Prime Minister of Pakistan should include the following paragraph of Sheikh Abdullah’s assurance made to the UN Security Council.

On 5 February 1948 Sheikh Abdullah assured the UN Security Council that:
“There need be no fear, since the Indian Army is there, that this army will interfere in the exercise of a free vote. After all, a Commission of the Security Council will be there in order to watch. The Indian Army does not have to go into every village. It will be stationed at certain strategic points, so that in the event of danger from any border, the army will be there to protect that border. The army is there to curb disorders anywhere in the State; that is all. The army will not be in each and every village in order to watch each and every vote.”

Pakistan needs to tell the UN GA about the violation of UN Security Council Resolutions by Indian security forces. While highlighting the atrocities committed by Indian army, Prime Minister of Pakistan should inform the General Assembly that Indian security forces are engaged in a war with the people of Kashmir and have violated the restraints placed on their behaviour, number and location in the UN SC Resolution of 21 April 1948. (Para 2 (c) (i), (II) and (iii). Pakistan should demand for an Emergency Session of the UN SC to consider the on-going killings in the Valley, in the same manner in which Russia has demanded against the American misadventure in Syria, in which 62 Syrian soldiers have been killed.

India would make every effort to deflect the world attention from the prevailing situation in Kashmir to any other issue. We should not be bothered or disheartened by any such tactic. Our focus should be that India has failed to discharge its obligations in Kashmir as agreed at the UN and is using its military might to hurt and humble Muslims of Kashmir.

 

Prime Minister needs to tell the UN GA that we are faced with a situation where the people of Indian controlled Kashmir have been reduced to a process of life and are denied a quality of life. It is not only in normal circumstances that there have been serious issues with the “Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development” but in particular the rights guaranteed in Para 12 of the UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948 to the people of Kashmir are being denied. Indian Government has deployed one soldier for every twenty Kashmiris and while as it has one teacher available for every hundred children. A tug of war has been going on between the people of Jammu and Kashmir who want to exercise their freedom of vote as resolved by the United Nations and the Indian Government’s use of military forces to humble an unwilling people against their choice.

General Assembly has to be informed that the rights of the people of Kashmir guaranteed by the United Nations have been denied by the Indian state. Para 14 directs Indian state that, “The Government of India should ensure that the Government of the State releases all political prisoners and take all possible steps so that:

  • All citizens of the State who have left it on account of disturbances are invited, and are free, to return to their homes and to exercise their rights as such citizens;
  • There is no victimization;
  • Minorities in all parts of the State are accorded adequate protection.

In violation of this guarantee Indian Government has continued to deny 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees, that is, five generations the freedom of a lawful entry and exit as guaranteed in Para 12 of the UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948. As against this Pakistan continues to allow these Kashmiri refugees settled in various provinces of Pakistan a freedom of vote in their Kashmir assembly at Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir and in the National and Provincial assemblies of Pakistan.

Pakistan has to flag it for the attention of the participants at the UN General Assembly session that Government of India has plans to setup colonies in the valley to settle retired army and paramilitary personnel. After the death of a Muslim generation in the Kashmir Valley, resulting into a numerical deficit, the present settlement plan is looked upon with suspicion by Muslims. It is a secret agenda to settle non-State Subjects and change the demographic structure of the state and its disputed nature.  UN GA needs to be told about the concerns of Muslims and Christians living in the Valley about the claims made by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders in particular Dr. Pravin Tagodia that “Muslims and Christians in India were Hindus”. RSS, along with other parties like Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Dharma Jagran Manch have been arranging mass conversions of Muslims and Christians into Hinduism under a program called “Ghar-Wapasi” (Return to Home) all over India.

 

Prime Minister of Pakistan has to make a strong case that the member states of the United Nations under article 26 (2) have accepted the “strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. Article 56 of the UN Charter has created a positive duty of co-operation for the purposes set out in Article 55 of the Charter. The main purpose is “the creation of conditions of stability and wellbeing which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based o respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. Pakistan should recommend to the UN General Assembly that until there is a free vote under the supervision of the United Nations, an agreement has to be made to use the forces of both Dominions of India and Pakistan, or UN forces for the purpose of ‘pacification’.

 

 

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