RESOLVING KASHMIR- RELEVANCE OF UN RESOLUTIONS II- TRUTH DISTILLED
Relevance of UN resolutions - II
The truth distilled-food for thought
“It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak, and another to hear”.
–Henry David Thoreau
Too many people have told us so much. And so many people have promised us too much. Consequently, today we are no more capable of distinguishing between reality and illusion and this is our collective tragedy! What follows may hurt the sentiments of many but then there comes a time when someone has to take the risk and put forth certain irrefutable facts even if they sound sacrilegious. After all, is it not better for the community to be confronted with the harsh reality and reconcile, rather than live out a life of delusion and thus suffer each passing day!
So, let us start with the myths and realities related to of the Kashmir problem.
* Myth- The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir being a Hindu had decided to join the Dominion of India.
* Reality- Authoritative sources now confirm that the Ruler of Kashmir was inclined to opt for independence and was trying to build up internal consensus by getting the pro Pakistan Muslim Conference and Pro India National Conference onto a common platform. In a bid to gain time for the same, he on 12 August 1947 sent telegrams bearing identical dates, asking for ‘Standstill Agreement’ to both the Dominions India and Pakistan which under the Indian Independence Act 1947, would guarantee continuation of all existing agreements as well as administrative arrangements till new agreements were made. Had the Maharaja wanted accession to India, he could have easily done so even before 15 August 1947 rather than get involved with ‘Stand Still Agreements’ and remain undecided till October.
* Myth-India obtained the ‘instrument of accession’ in its favour by pressurizing the Maharaja.
* Reality- The Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir had not entered into any agreement with New Delhi till October 1947. However, it was the decision of the Pakistan army to invade Kashmir that virtually pushed the Maharaja into New Delhi’s lap and prompted him to seek Indian intervention. And so, New Delhi obliged, but not before obtaining the ‘instrument of accession’ in its favour!
* Myth- Pakistan has always stood up for the ‘right of self determination’ of the Kashmiris.
* Reality- By sponsoring the Tribal invasion, Pakistan changed the perception of the Kashmir problem from an ideological issue into a geographical dispute and never felt it necessary to approach the UN for its resolution. It is thanks to India, which took up this issue with the UN that the UN passed resolutions on Kashmir calling for Plebiscite.
* Myth- India is legally bound to implement the UN resolution for determining the ‘right to self determination’ through Plebiscite.
* Reality- The UN resolution on Kashmir was passed by the United Nations Security Council under Chapter VI of the UN Charter which is non-binding and has no mandatory enforceability, as opposed to the resolutions passed under Chapter VII.
*Myth- India is evading the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on Plebiscite in Kashmir while Pakistan has done its best to ensure that the UN resolutions on Kashmir are implemented.
* Reality- UN resolution of 13 August 1948 decreed that a plebiscite would be held in Kashmir only after the Commission's resolutions were implemented. This envisaged withdrawal of all Pakistani forces from those areas of Kashmir which it had occupied in 1948. By refusing to do so till date, Pakistan has given India a legally tenable and diplomatically advantageous position by shifting the onus for non implementation of UN resolutions on Pakistan. In an illuminating article titled ‘Understanding UN Resolutions on Kashmir’ (Greater Kashmir, 20 July 2012) Hashim Qureshi has quoted former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan as ascribing this as the reason “that the General Assembly cannot implement the resolutions of the UNCIP (on Kashmir)”.
* Myth- The principles applied to secure the accession of the erstwhile kingdom of Junagadh to India on the basis of a Hindu majority were not followed in the case of Kashmir which has a Muslim majority.
* Reality- In the case of Junagadh a Plebiscite was conducted in February 1948, in which approximately 99% of the people chose accession with India. So, by conducting a plebiscite, even if farcical, India ‘technically’ fulfilled its international obligations thus avoiding any criticism of its earlier strong arm tactics and portrayed to the world that it was ready to hold a Plebiscite in Kashmir once the stipulated conditions set by the UN had been fulfilled.
* Myth- A Plebiscite as envisaged in the UN resolutions can still be held in Jammu and Kashmir.
* Reality- By granting non Kashmiris the right to acquire land and settle down in PaK as well as seceding portions of PaK to China, Pakistan has virtually foreclosed this option. New Delhi has cleverly adopted the technically sound stance that ‘since the geography and demographics of the region have been permanently altered,’ Resolution 47 (calling for Plebiscite) is now obsolete.
It is thus evident that under the prevailing conditions, the scope of implementing the ‘right to self determination’ through a Plebiscite in Kashmir is virtually nonexistent. And it is here that our leaders have to take a call on re-thinking their strategy for resolution of the ‘K’ Issue. We must realise that the UN resolutions on Kashmir have yielded nothing for over six decades and so our insistence and any further clamouring for implementation of the same, does not make diplomatic sense.
The implicit faith which our leaders put on Pakistan for resolving Kashmir too needs to be re-examined. While it is not intended to belittle Islamabad’s contribution in keeping the ‘K’ issue alive, its decision to add the militancy angle to the peaceful movement has caused irreparable damage to the cause. America, which once empathised with the Kashmiris, today steers clear of touching Kashmir with a barge pole and this is amply clear from the following:
* On October 23, 1993 Asstt Secretary of State, Robin Raphael displaying solidarity with the Kashmiris declared that: "We (USA) do not recognise the legal validity of Kashmir’s accession as meaning that Kashmir is forever an integral part of India... The people of Kashmir have got to be consulted in any kind of final settlement of the Kashmir dispute."
* On 15 July 2012, President Barak Obama completely disassociated America from any responsibility towards the Kashmiri people by categorically ruling out any ‘third party’ intervention. By declaring that "it is not the place of any nation, including the United States, to try to impose solutions (on Kashmir) from the outside”, he also sent out a clear signal to the international community that America was not in favour of any ‘third party’ intervention.
The people of Kashmir have always followed their leaders like a faithful flock, ungrudgingly doing what they are being told to do and in the process, enduring great hardship. It is now our leaders’ turn to take stock of the situation and ensure that they do not betray the faith of the masses by pursuing antiquated and non productive strategies which cause suffering but yield no results.
Tags: Kashmir , Acession , Indian Independence Act 1 , America , Azadi , Third Option , Junagadh , Pakistan , India
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