In the backdrop of killing of more than eighty people by the Indian forces in the Occupied Kashmir and the blatant violation of human rights for well over a month, Pakistan has launched a diplomatic offensive to sensitize the international community about the situation in the valley and remind the world and the UN of their obligations towards the people of Kashmir. Pakistan has been condemning the Indian atrocities in IHK and its permanent ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi raised the issue at the United Nation General Assembly. Pakistan renewed its commitment to the cause of the people of Kashmir and stated in unequivocal terms that it would continue to extend political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. The Prime Minister also wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General on the issue. He is also likely to raise this matter in his ensuring address to the General Assembly.
These efforts have produced encouraging results. Reportedly the United Nation Human Rights Commission has offered to send a fact finding mission to both the IHK and AJK. Whether India responds positive to the proposition remains to be seen. But as far as Pakistan is concerned, the development is indeed a diplomatic triumph for the country. So is the response given to Prime Minister’s letter by the UN Secretary General, who responding to the letter has deplored the on-going killings in IHK and urged the resolution of the dispute through dialogue. He also said “I am ready to offer my good offices should it be requested by both sides to facilitate dialogue in order to achieve a negotiated settlement.
The concern expressed by the UN Secretary General of the killings in IHK is a welcome statement indeed. However he confined himself only to an offer to facilitate the dialogue on the issue if both sides so desired, which is not in conformity with spirit of the UN resolution. UN has several resolutions on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite to settle the question of accession of state. In his capacity as the UN Chief, he should have called for resolution of the dispute in consonance with the UN resolutions. Nonetheless, his response at least puts the Kashmir issue on the radar of the international community.
The most positive and realistic response has come from the Secretary General OIC , Iyad Bin Amin Madani who addressing a joint press conference with Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad said that Kashmir was not India’s internal matter but an international issue which is besieged with momentous human rights violations. He reaffirmed strong support for right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir and called for referendum as per UNSC resolution.
India on the other hand has been vigorously trying to portray the situation in IHK as interference in internal affairs of India by Pakistan and accusing the latter of sponsoring violence in the valley, a ploy which it has been using since the people of Kashmir launched an armed struggle against the Indian occupation in 1989. Indian stance that Kashmir was an integral part of Kashmir is a travesty of the ground realities. In the wake of the rebellion by the people of Kashmir against the so-called instrument of accession of the state signed by Mahraj, Lord Mountbatten clearly said that the accession was accepted provisionally and the question would finally be settled through a reference to the people.
The UN resolutions as a result of Indian move to take the issue to the world body, also called for the same. Nehru in the wake of these resolutions, is on record to have repeatedly said that India would fulfill its obligation towards the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN resolutions. However India reneged on its commitment and tried to have the question of accession resolved through the constituent assembly of Kashmir in 1957. That move was repudiated by the UN through its resolutions 91 and 122, maintaining the issue could not be settled through any arrangement other than a UN sponsored plebiscite. As is evident Indian position on Kashmir has no legal and moral basis.
Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. It is about the inalienable right of self-determination of a people, which is one of the fundamental human rights. India unfortunately continues to occupy Kashmir despite these realities and its security forces have indulged in inhuman practices to subdue the movement for freedom. The UN also needs to prove its worth by having this issue resolved. The US and EU who never tire of crying hoarse about respect for human rights from ever convenient roof-top, also need to abandon their hypocrisy on human rights violations in Kashmir and lend their support to the efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue.