Diplomat discusses UN mandate on Kashmir dispute

ISTANBUL: India is “using force and trickery” to block the implementation of UN resolutions to hold a plebiscite in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir region, said Pakistan’s diplomat posted in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.

“Owing to Indian intransigence, the UN Security Council (UNSC) has failed to fulfill its pledge to the Kashmiri people,” said Bilal Khan Pasha, the consul general of Pakistan in Istanbul.

Pasha was speaking to Anadolu Agency about UN resolutions that grant the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide the region’s political fate.

“The importance of the inalienable right to self-determination has been acknowledged in various human rights covenants and decisions of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council,” said the Pakistani diplomat.

It was on January 5, 1949 that the UN committed to upholding the fundamental human rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“On this day in 1949, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) pledged the realization of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the UN,” Pasha said.

“This day reminds the international community, especially the UN Security Council, of the imperative of honoring this commitment towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the resolution, which remains unfulfilled, Pasha stated.

It was India which first took the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to the UNSC on January 1, 1948.

“The Security Council resolutions recognized that the final disposition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the UN,” Pasha said, referring to eight UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

He said both Pakistan and India accepted “this prescription, but India later went back on its pledge and since then has used all manner of trickery and force to avoid holding the plebiscite.”

Pakistan to ‘fulfil its obligations’ as party to dispute

Pasha said that Pakistan, as a party to the dispute, “will fulfil its obligations.”He added, however, that it would take both Pakistan and India to fully implement the UN Security Council resolutions and the mechanisms contained therein.

“It is India which is responsible for blocking and delaying the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.

“In defense of its continued illegal military occupation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, some Indian officials have often argued that it had accepted the option of holding a plebiscite (as well as demilitarization) in Jammu and Kashmir on the condition that Pakistan would first remove all its forces from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The argument is disingenuous and a complete distortion of facts. The essence of the earlier commission resolutions (of August 13, 1948) was that the obligations of the withdrawal of forces by the two sides were reciprocal and concurrent.”

Pasha said: “Further proof of India’s refusal to demilitarize is to be found in the report of (UN Representative for India and Pakistan) Sir Owen Dixon to the Security Council, contained in Document S-1971.”

Dixson, said Pasha, “concluded as follows: ‘In the end, I became convinced that India’s agreement would never be obtained to demilitarization in any form, or to provisions governing the period of the plebiscite of any such character, as would in my opinion permit the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence by which the freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperiled.’”

He, however, asserted that Pakistan, both the government and its people, stand “steadfast in their adherence to the UN Security Council resolutions and in our strong political, moral and diplomatic support to the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination.”

“The UN Security Council and the UN secretary general are legally and morally obliged to secure implementation of the binding UN resolutions and agreements on Jammu and Kashmir to which they are a party,” he added.

Pasha said Islamabad continues to remind the UNSC of this responsibility besides “utilizing other fora such as the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) as well to highlight the urgency of implementing the outstanding UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.”

“As a result of these efforts,” he added, the UNSC has discussed the situation of Jammu and Kashmir three times since August 2019.

“The UN secretary general reaffirmed the validity of these UNSC resolutions in August 2019.”

Simla Agreement reaffirms UN Charter over Kashmir

Regarding the Simla Agreement signed between Pakistan and India in 1972, Pasha said the bilateral pact “reaffirms the primacy of the Charter of the UN and prevents both countries from altering the situation unilaterally.

“India cannot take advantage of its own default by claiming that the resolutions have become inoperable. It is bad jurisprudence … to construe a resolution as invalid simply because the state to which it was directed could for decades successfully defy the will of the Security Council,” he argued.

“UNSC resolutions are immutable. They can be invalidated only by fulfilment of the obligation, consent of the parties, or a subsequent resolution or decision of the Security Council. None of this has happened with respect to Jammu and Kashmir.”

Pasha said obligations arising from the UN Security Council resolutions on the Kashmir dispute “cannot be unilaterally annulled or renounced by India citing its constitution and internal laws.

“India’s attempts to unilaterally and illegally alter the status of the disputed territory in contravention of international law are not new and have been rejected unequivocally by the UN Security Council in the past as well,” he said.

For instance, said Pasha, “UNSC Resolutions 91 and 122 adopted in 1951 and 1957 respectively pronounced on the illegality of India convening a (Jammu and Kashmir) constituent assembly and its fraudulent decisions.

“Similarly, India’s illegal and unilateral actions on August 5, 2019, to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy are also in violation of these UNSC resolutions,” he added.

“India has tried to justify its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug. 5, 2019 as purely a ‘domestic issue.’ This is in the tradition of all occupying and colonizing powers, since they have nothing else to say to justify their illegal and immoral actions.”

The Security Council resolutions, Pasha said, “clearly treat Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory.”

The UNSC has discussed the situation of Jammu and Kashmir three times since August 2019, “which further negates the false Indian assertions that it is an internal matter of India,” he added.

Besides, he said the OIC has maintained its “strong and consistent support” on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi “sent around 25 direct communications since Aug. 1, 2019 to the P-5 leadership, UNSC president, UNSG, OHCHR and the EU. This includes eight communications sent in 2021.

“India’s occupation forces have committed massive human rights violations, widely known to the international community. These violations have been documented by international media as well as in two reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2018 and 2019,” he said, adding Islamabad “will continue to highlight and seek a halt to such blatant human rights violations.”

Referring to what he called a “comprehensive dossier” released by Pakistan last year on human rights violations in “Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIoJK),” Pasha said it includes the “accounts of 3,432 cases of war crimes identifying the units and personnel of the Indian occupied forces, which have committed these crimes.

“The documented crimes include torture in custody, collective punishment, violence against women and children, enforced disappearances and killings, and the use of pellet guns and cluster munitions. The perpetrators of these crimes enjoy state patronage and are shielded by a sham system of justice,” he added.

Regretting the “worsening situation in IIoJK,” he said India has jailed almost the entire Kashmiri leadership.

According to All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an alliance of 26 political, social and religious organizations formed in 1993 that has led political resistance to Indian rule in 2021, over 350 people, including civilians, militants and Indian forces personnel, were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir, while 1,600 Kashmiris were arrested.

“410 people were booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and 178 others under the Public Safety Act (PSA),” the APHC said in its annual report.

The Legal Forum for Kashmir, a global Kashmir advocacy group, in its 2021 human rights data showed that over the past two years “Indian forces buried 388 freedom fighters (militants) in unmarked graves in remote areas and denied their families the right to participate in their burial rites.”

“The world was witness to the highly reprehensible and callous manner in which the Indian occupation acted following the death of iconic Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani in Indian custody,” Pasha said, referring to death of the top Kashmiri resistance leader last year.

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