Dr Muhammad Khan
The National Security Committee (NSC) of Pakistan has taken a landmark decision of referring the developments taken place in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) to United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This is the right decision since Kashmir is an international dispute, pending in the UN for a final disposition. It is worth noting that after its illegal invasion in October 1947, India took the Kashmir dispute to UN on January 1, 1948.
Being an aggressor itself on that occasion, Indian leadership had the pre-conceived expectations that UN would declare Pakistan as an aggressor state. However, contrary to Indian motives, Kashmir was declared as an “International Dispute” and being treated as such till to-date, mandating a free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices. By referring the Kashmir dispute to UN, India found itself caught on a wrong foot, once UN resolutions asked for the free will of the Kashmiris in its resolutions.
Later, India tried to come out of UN entanglement, but it was too late. In its entire period of occupation of the state since 1947, India is running away from implementation of UN resolutions and any serious dialogue process with Pakistan. The NSC decision of referring the developments in Indian-occupied Kashmir to UNSC will bring a new hope for the resolution of the dispute in a changed regional and international environment where new strategic re-alignment is in the making, away from the cold war model of bipolar world and the contemporary model of unipolarity. In a changing geopolitical scenario, India is trying to find a place for itself with the status of a major power.
However, for the last two decades, India was criticized globally for its massive human rights violations in its occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir. Then, there was a clear dichotomy between the politically stated Indian position on Kashmir; ‘the integral part mantra’ and what its constitution contains in the form of Article 370.A Article 370 was a; temporary, transitional and provisional arrangement, India had with the occupied portion of the state, until the final disposition made through a plebiscite to ascertain the free will of Kashmiris as enunciated in the UN resolutions.
“UNSC must be questioned for its mysterious silence over massive human rights violations in IoK”
Besides being the referral of Kashmir dispute to UN, India is a signatory to UN resolutions, asking for free and fair plebiscite under UN supervision. For the people of occupied Kashmir, the Article 370 and its supplementary article, Article 35 A were nothing more than a guarantee that, India will not make demographic changes in the state by inhabiting the non-Kashmiris. Despite this guarantee (Article 370 and 35 A), successive Indian governments made massive demographic changes in the Jammu province of the occupied state.
Finding a debacle to replicate its Jammu model in the Valley (the Kashmir Province) for making demographic changes under the stiff resistance of Kashmiri youth for the past two decades, India decided to repeal this special status given in Article 370. While abrogating Article 370, Indian Machiavellis overlooked the legal aspect that this decision has made the occupied state practically an Independent and Free State, which India re-occupied and reinvaded on August 5, 2019, through unilateral decision like it did on October 27, 1947.
Apart from other aspects, India has taken this decision to make demographic changes in the valley, having 95% Muslim population which in the Indian opinion would dilute the popular demand for the right of self-determination. The new architect for making the demographic changes in the valley would include; rehabilitating the Pandits at strategic locations with secure and fortified house in the form of Bantustans. Besides the Hindu population of erstwhile West Pakistan will be re-habilitated in various parts of the Valley. Establishment of Sanik colonies in various parts of Valley and land allotment around the Hindu shrines are other plans; India is implementing gradually but facing indigenous resistance.
While referring the anxieties of Kashmiri masses and Pakistani concern to UNSC, it should be made clear to this international body (UN) that while India may have revoked Article 370 of its constitution, it should be stopped from making the planned demographic changes in the Valley, the Kashmir Province. Besides, the draft Pakistani resolution must include that, the demographic changes, India has made in Jammu province, must be undone forthwith, restoring original demographic structure of the state, as it existed prior to 1947.
The most significant aspect, the Pakistani resolution must include, restoring the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as an entity, rather a divided nature, which India announced after abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. As per UN resolutions India cannot divide the state into various parts, as it did by incorporating Ladakh into Indian Union without legislature and Jammu and Kashmir as union territory with legislature. UN must be emphasized to refer the case of massive human rights violations in IOK to ICJ and ICC.
Besides the subjugated nature of Kashmiri masses, as it is aggravating with each passing day, must end forthwith. The occupied Jammu and Kashmir presents a model of captivity and open jail since last two decades. The situation has worsened with new military deployment of India. While referring the Kashmir case to UNSC, Pakistan must carry out a detailed homework, asking for the UN safeguards and guarantees on all aspects mentioned above. Besides, UNSC must be questioned for its mysterious silence over massive human rights violations in IoK, since 1990. This prestigious international body must be requested for playing its decisive role for the resolution of this longstanding dispute to end the miseries of Kashmiris.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.