Kashmiris protestThe Internationalization of Kashmir Dispute 

By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

While on his way to US, just few days before his meeting with President Obama, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hinted that US would be asked to play a role in the resolution of long-standing Kashmir dispute for the broader peace and stability in South Asia. In his brief stop-over, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that, India and Pakistan has wasted lot of resources on the purchase of arms; indeed, an unending arms race and this practice if continue would drain the economies of both countries. Visualizing the uncertain situation, he said, “The situation can become dangerous. India has nuclear bomb, so do we. India develops missiles, so do we? There should be a limit to it. We all should think about it.”  He also made a mention of his earlier meeting with former US President Bill Clinton in July 99, where he emphasized him that, “he spends 10 percent of the time he was spending on the Middle East, the Kashmir issue between the two countries would be resolved.” This was quite a logical approach adopted by Premier, which should have been appreciated as the unresolved nature of the issue created tension and insecurity between India and Pakistan ever since their  independence in 1947.

There should have been a positive and mature response from India. But, unfortunately, this did not happen and Indian leaders reacted pessimistically on this call of Pakistani Premier. All Indian political parties voiced against the Pakistani Premier’s statement and unanimously said that, Pakistan is trying to internationalize the Kashmir issue, as if it was an Indian problem. As per Statement Department, US administration has promised Pakistani Premier to help India and Pakistan in the resolution of this issue. President Obama has indeed, identified Kashmir as the only cause of instability in South Asia, upon his election victory in November 2008. Besides, the former US President Clinton, declared Kashmir as the, “most dangerous place on earth.”

Kashmir is a gaping wound!

Kashmir is a gaping wound!

In his immediate response, the Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid,   said that, “There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. It is a waste of time for anybody no matter how eminent to be even trying to question it.” Salman Khurshid declared Kashmir as the integral part of India. There were similar remarks of other Indian leaders. Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, a former President of extremist Hindu party BJP said that, no third party had the right to interfere on the matter and “Nawaz Sharif’s statement on US intervention is not accepted.” It is outlandish on the part of Indian External Affairs Minister that on one hand he declares Kashmir as integral part of India and on the other, he seek a bilateral solution of the dispute between India and Pakistan.

The Indian rhetoric that, ‘Kashmir is its integral part’ and contesting that, Pakistan is trying to internationalize it is quite contrary to ground realities.  It appeared from the statements of the Indian leaders that, either they are hiding the ground realities or ignorant of the factual position of this dispute. There are twenty-three exclusive UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute. These resolutions were passed by this international body (UN) unanimously through the votes of its members states; the international community.  UNO is an international forum; a global regulatory body, established in 1945 to manage the international disputes and conflicts like Kashmir, Palestine, Serbia, Bosnia and so many other issues. Since its establishment in 1945, this international body has resolved many such issues; therefore, resolution of Kashmir issue by this international forum is also one of its responsibility. Since United States is the sole super power, having a global say, therefore, it was quite logical that Pakistani Premier, Nawaz Sharif sought US assistance in the resolution of this dispute.

As far as the aspect of internationalization of Kashmir dispute is concerned, India took the Kashmir dispute in UN on January 1, 1948. Pakistan only responded to the UN call and Indian complaint once this world body sought a reply. India in fact invaded Kashmir on October 27, 1947 without any legality. Maharaja Harisingh did not sign any accession document with India. It was a stage-managed drama made between VP Menon, Pandit Mahjan and Sheikh Abdullah. Today after 67 years, there is no legality of Indian invasion of Kashmir. While making such statements against Pakistan, Indian leadership should have studied Indian irrational moves on this dispute in the past. In the UNCIP Resolution of August 13, 1948, India and Pakistan were asked to cease the fighting in the State. It has three parts; part one, both countries to issue necessary cease fire orders to the forces under the respective command, part two, acceptance of certain principles for a Truce Agreement and part three was regarding Plebiscite in the state. Later in the UNCIP Resolution of January 5, 1949, certain suggestions / proposals were made for the conduct of fair and impartial plebiscite under the Plebiscite Administrator; a high-ranking    person   of    international    standing   to be 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 Pakistan and India after clarifications given by the members of the commission accepted the proposals and declared cessation of hostilities in the state. Unfortunately, India delayed the plebiscite and subsequently refused for this exercise.

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In fact, it is a very outrageous on the part of Indian political leadership that they are blaming Pakistan for internationalizing this issue. How can one call Kashmir as bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that has two-dozen UN resolutions for its solution? These resolutions call for its solution as per the wishes of Kashmiri people through a plebiscite under UN.  In the past UN made many attempts to conduct this plebiscite, but India always created hurdles. Simla Agreement-1972, between India and Pakistan did not object or reject the UN resolutions, nor it had such mandate. Rather on the dispute both countries decided to maintained their traditional stance. Simla agreement does talk resolution of their issues not Kashmir dispute. Kashmir dispute has five parties, rather  than two. The principle party is the people of Kashmir. Then, it is India and Pakistan. Since China has over 9000 sq miles area of Kashmir under it, therefore, it is one of the parties. The most important party is the international community, the UNO, which has passed resolutions towards its solution. How can India declare it as the bilateral issue between India and Pakistan?

Therefore, UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute are valid and would remain so until its final solution or cancelled through another UN resolution. Kashmir indeed is the oldest international dispute on the agenda of United Nations Organization. The international body; UNO should take a serious note of the Indian rhetoric of declaring Kashmir as its integral part and attempting to undermine its international status. Besides, the civilized international community, global media and Pakistani scholars and media should have contested the statements of Indian leadership. On the moral grounds, the world community and UNO should persuade India for ending the human rights violations in its occupied portion of Kashmir, which have killed over 100,000 innocent Kashmiris so far. India has frequently violated the LoC in Kashmir, which resulted into killing of many civilians and Pakistani soldiers. India must end this practice and give peace a chance for the resolution of this international dispute as per the wishes of its subjects.