United Nations and Kashmir
Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is the oldest unresolved issue on the agenda of the United Nations Organization. From January 1948 to May 1964, United Nations Organization passed sixteen resolutions and undertook many debates and discussions concerning Jammu and Kashmir. 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 its resolutions, UN appointed its missions, mediators and even nominated Plebiscite Administrators with various practicable suggestions and proposals to reach a logical solution of the issue. However, owing to inflexible attitude of India, none of these efforts could become fruitful. Resultantly, Kashmir issue is still unresolved and Kashmiri masses are suffering the worst form of human rights violations at the hands of Indian forces. Since United Nations accepted the right of self-determination of Kashmiris, thus, all its resolutions, stressed for a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under it. India, however, fearing a defeat, resorted to delaying tactics to avert the plebiscite exercise. On the other hand, Pakistan though confident that the people of the State would decide to accede with it, was timid of Indian aggression, thus did not unilaterally pulled out its forces from Azad Kashmir. Pakistan and Kashmiris always desired that UN should play its role for concluding the issue on logical grounds. As an impartial world body, UN could have seen through the Indian design to annex the territory of Jammu and Kashmir raising the bogey of Pakistan aggression in those initial days of the issue. This all was done while, setting aside the facts of geographical contiguity, ethnic homogeneity and above all the wishes of the Kashmiris. Later India delayed the conduct of plebiscite in the state till she declared it as her integral part in mid 1950s, through a fake IOK Assembly accession.
Even against this Indian ill intention, UN passed two specific resolutions. As a regulating body, the UNSC gave a clear verdict regarding the powers and jurisdiction of the State’s Legislative Assembly vides its resolution of March 30, 1951, and January 24, 1957. Through these resolutions, State’s Constituent Assembly was prohibited to determine the future status of the state, until there is a UN sponsored plebiscite. Pakistan and Kashmiris are concerned that, despite its clear directive through its resolution, India continued its illegal acts and this world body could not take any action against it. Since this was a clear violation of the UNSC resolutions by both India and the IOK Legislative Assembly, therefore, there could have been some punitive action against them by this world body, rather remaining silent.
Today after sixty-five years and despite three wars between India and Pakistan, UN seems not very serious to conclude this issue as per its own resolutions. This world body did not delay actions against other invaders, as Iraq was evicted from Kuwait in 1991, through Operation Desert Storm. Nevertheless, what to talk of enforcement action against the delinquent party for the implementation of its resolution, UN even ceased its mediatory efforts since late sixties. Such double standard in dealing with the world issues like Kashmir really put a question mark on the credibility of this world organization. Kashmiri feel that, perhaps, it was due to the apathy on the part of the UN that emboldened New Delhi to annex that disputed territory forcefully. In the absence of any timely action on the part of the UNSC, India unleashed a reign of terror on Kashmiris, killing those demanding their freedom and incarcerating the popular leaders in order to silence the opposition. In order to do so, India continued enhancing its forces in IOK. As occupying forces, they were given a freedom to detain and torture the civilians, gang rape the womenfolk, torch the villages and desecrate the places of worship and holy shrines. UN could neither monitor nor stop these Indian acts. Kashmiris are ill fated in the respect that, UN and international community have done very little about their right of self-determination. Since its establishment in 1945, this world body resolved many issues; South Sudan and East Timor being the very recent examples. In this highly civilized and globalized world, Kashmiris are still at the mercy of Indian occupation forces that maltreat them as a matter of routine. This Indian occupation and brutal behaviour is a clear violation of UN Charter and UN Declaration on Human Rights. Should there be some justification for the silence of United Nations over the issue of Jammu and Kashmir?