UN and Kashmir

Courtesy:- Dr Raja Muhammad Khan


The month of October is very significant in the history of Kashmir. It was on October 4, 1947, that Kashmiri started their struggle against Dogra Rule through announcement of an independent (Azad) Kashmir. On October 24, 1947, Kashmiri formally announced the state’s accession with Pakistan. On October 27, 1947, Indian forces landed at the Srinagar Airport and then there was a war between Kashmiris and Indian forces. A few units of Pakistan Army also joined the Kashmiri fighters. The Kashmir war continued until ceasefire was imposed by UNO on January 1, 1948. Surprisingly, India, an aggressor itself, referred the Kashmir case in the United Nations Organization, declaring Pakistan as an aggressor and invader.


Indeed, 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 carried out many debates/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.

Pakistan and Kashmiris always desired that UN should play its role for concluding the issue on logical grounds. As an impartial world body, UNO 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, UNO 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, UNO 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.

With the reemergence of Kashmiri struggle in 1989 and its revival in 2008, in consequences of indigenous uprisings, the world body could have acted decisively to break the impasse. 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 unlucky in the respect that, UN and international community have done very little about their right of self-determination. Since its establishment in 1945, this body resolved many issues without even having any single resolution. South Sudan and East Timor being the recent examples. In this highly civilized and globalized world, Kashmiris are still at the mercy of an occupying Indian security forces that mistreats 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?

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