UNCIP resolutions on Kashmir
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
There exist a misperception that Pakistan has not implemented the UNCIP resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949. Indeed, this is an allegation, taken as an excuse by Indian authorities for the non-implementation of these two famous resolutions as well as many others. India indeed, knew that, implementations of these resolutions would expose her act of aggression on Kashmir on October 27, 1947, against whom; Kashmiri were fighting a war of their national liberation from India. The fact of the matter is that, as a result of UNSC Resolution number S.726 of April 21, 1948, United Nations constituted a five-members commission in June 1948 and named it as the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). Its first meeting was held in Geneva on June 15, 1948.
To consult the Pakistani authorities, the Commission reached Karachi on July 7, 1948. During its meeting with Foreign Minister, the Commission was informed that for her own defence, Pakistan had sent some troops in Jammu and Kashmir. Following the consultation with Pakistan, the Commission reached New Delhi on July 9, 1948 and carried out its discussion with the Indian leadership. It is on the record that, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, categorically told the members of the commission that, Pakistan must be forced to pullout its troops and its nationals from the state’s territory. India also compels the Commission to declare Pakistan as an aggressor state.
Sequel to consultation process with both countries, the members of the Commission drafted the first UNCIP resolution, which was adopted by UN on August 13, 1948. The resolution (S.995) asked both countries for the cessation of fighting in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The resolution had three parts. In the first part, both countries were asked to implement the ceasefire by issuing necessary ceasefire orders to the forces under the respective command of each country by an earliest possible date. In the second part, both countries were to accept certain principles for a Truce Agreement. In the third and the final part, the resolution made clear the decision for the future of the state would be through Plebiscite, where the people of the state would determine their right of self-determination. This indeed was the most alarming part for the India, as she knew that, Kashmiri would never opt for the India. As demanded by this resolution, Pakistan government despite its security reservations, agreed to withdraw its troops and tribes men from the state’s territory. As regards India, it too accepted the contents of the resolution, but practically created many hurdles, in the implementation of the resolution, by raising many ifs and buts in the agreement. India agreed to withdraw bulk of its forces from the state, but after withdrawal of Pakistani forces and tribesmen. Local authorities under the UNCIP were to administer territory thus vacated by withdrawal of either side’s forces. Nevertheless, the local authorities were practically under the India, the occupying power.
Since India was to maintain a reasonable force in the state’s territory until its final settlement, therefore, Pakistan, owing to its security reservations, sought necessary clarification from the Commission. However, later on, during informal conversation of the Commission with the representatives of India and Pakistan certain suggestions regarding the conditions and basic principles for holding the plebiscite in the state were communicated to both governments. Through various meetings between members of the Commission (UNCIP) and representatives of India and Pakistan, certain proposals / suggestions were later on accepted by both parties, which became part of UNCIP resolution of January 5, 1949.
After prior consultation with India and Pakistan, the United Nations Secretary General appointed Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, as a Plebiscite Administrator in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. He was to be formally appointed by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir after settling the details of Permanent Truce Agreement. Since the authorities of the State were under India, therefore, its formal appointment was deliberately deferred by India. Indeed, soon after the appointment of Plebiscite Administrator differences arose between India and Pakistan over the implementation of Truce Agreement. However, by the end of December 1948, UNCIP got certain principles (which were supplementary to UNCIP resolution of August 13, 1948) accepted by the government of India and Pakistan. With these principles becoming part of the UNCIP Resolution of January 5, 1949, it was agreed that, the future of the state was to be decided through a fair and impartial plebiscite under the Plebiscite Administrator ( A high-ranking person of international standing appointed by UN Secretary General). The Commission also promised to cater for human and political rights besides making necessary arrangements for the return of refugees who had left the state under unfavourable situation. Both the parties after clarifications given by the members of the commission accepted the proposals and declared cessation of hostilities in the state.
From January 1948 to May 1964, the United Nations Organization passed sixteen resolutions and carried out many debates/discussions concerning Jammu and Kashmir. It is the oldest unresolved issue present on the agenda of the United Nations Organization. In all of its resolutions, including resolutions of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), United Nations Organization asked for a fair and impartial plebiscite to decide the future status of Jammu and Kashmir as per the wishes of its subjects. For implementing these resolutions, the UNO appointed its missions, mediators, and even nominated Plebiscite Administrator with various practicable suggestions / proposals to reach to a logical solution of the issue. However, owing to inflexible attitude of India, these efforts fell flat and could not become fruitful.