It is now nearly two months since the Indian security forces are on a killing spree to quell the uprising by the people of Kashmir that erupted after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani at the hands of the Indian security forces but all their brutal machinations have failed to subdue their freedom struggle. Indian forces have killed more than 80 people so far and wounded hundreds of protestors using pellet guns, rubber bullets, smoke shells, tear gas and chili-based shells. But regrettably, the Indian brutalities have not been taken notice of or condemned by the international community and the powers that be, the way they should have been owing to political expediencies and their strategic interests in the region and the fact that India was doing their bidding to stem the rising influence of China in the region and beyond.

Encouraged by this indifference of the world community to the plight of the people of Kashmir, the Indian government is not only blaming Pakistan of having fomented the uprising but is also trying to stoke it into a terrorist activity abetted and sponsored by Pakistan. Narendra Modi in his interaction with the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in China complained to him about Pakistani involvement in the alleged terrorism in Indian occupied Kashmir and also tried to advise China to distance itself from Pakistani terrorism saying “response to terrorism must not be motivated by political considerations”. He also used the occasion to reiterate Indian opposition to CPEC.

It is evident that India is now working on a new offensive to equate the freedom struggle in Kashmir with terrorism and link it with Pakistan, which it feels can easily be sold to US and its allies as transpired during John Kerry’s visit to India recently. The US Secretary of State seemed to have bought the Indian argument and consequently advised Pakistan to check elements trying to carry out acts of terrorism in the neighbouring countries. This he said after Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj briefed him on the situation in Kashmir. Mention of alleged human rights violations in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan by Modi in his Independence Day speech was also the part of the same strategy to divert the attention of the international community from Kashmir.

India has taken this line to counteract the Pakistani initiative to highlight the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir; reiteration of her political, moral and diplomatic support to the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir; its diplomatic offensive to sensitize the world about Indian atrocities in the valley and to pre-empt the likely impact of Prime Minister Nawaz’s ensuing address to the General Assembly in which he is expected to raise the issue of Kashmir and invite attention of the world community and the United Nations to the persecution of Kashmiris by the Indian security forces.

In view of the foregoing realities and proven Indian hostility towards Pakistan, there is an imperative need to evolve an effective strategy to upgrade and expand the scope of our diplomatic offensive not only to counter the Indian false propaganda but also to bring Kashmir back into the focus of the fraternity of nations. Our UN mission must make sure that the Prime Minister meets all those who matter in policy making echelons in the US, the world leaders attending the UN session besides interface with maximum possible number of media outlets in the US and the think tanks. Perhaps it would also be a good idea to encourage the Hurriyet leaders also to approach the UN in regards to the brazen and blatant violation of human rights by the Indian security forces and invoking its involvement in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in consonance with the UN resolutions on the subject.

The focus of all these efforts and the address to the UN by the Prime Minister must be on getting the Kashmir issue back on the UN agenda. It may be pointed out that the UN excluded Jammu and Kashmir from its list of unresolved international disputes under the observation of the UN Security Council in November 2010; a development that happened due to the passive attitude of successive regimes in Pakistan and probably also due to the signing of Simla agreement between India and Pakistan that emphasised the need for settling all disputes between them, including Kashmir, through bilateral negotiations. Indian argument that Pakistan cannot internationalise the Kashmir issue after signing the Simla Agreement probably also stems from the same development.

Pakistan being a party to the Kashmir dispute and frustrated by the Indian intransigence to have the dispute settled through bilateral arrangement, is very much entitled to re-raise the issue at the United Nations. Simla Agreement does not exclude that possibility. It says that the principles and purposes of the UN Charter shall govern the relations between the two countries. Article 103 of UN Charter says “ In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail” What it means is that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreements on the same issue.

The UN action to remove Kashmir from its agenda as well as Indian stance on settlement of the Kashmir dispute only through bilateral arrangement only, are wrong notions. Resolution of Kashmir issue in conformity with the UN Security Council and UNCIP resolutions remains the moral obligation of the UN if not legal and binding. Former Secretary General of United Nations Kofi Anon during his visit to India and Pakistan in 2001, had remarked that Kashmir resolutions were only advisory recommendations under chapter VI of the UN Charter and that only the resolutions adopted under Chapter VII were binding and endorsable by the Security Council.

Granted that the UN resolutions on Kashmir are non-binding but that in no way changes the status of the dispute or nullify the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir recommended in the UN resolutions and the commitment given by India to fulfill her obligations in this regard. It is pertinent to point out that it was India which took the Kashmir issue to the UN after the people of Kashmir rebelled against the so-called instrument of accession signed by Maharaja of Kashmir. Even that instrument was accepted by Lord Mountbatten provisionally, committing that final settlement of the question of accession would be made after reference to the people. The rebellion by the people of Kashmir against Maharaja’s decision clearly indicated that the Muslim majority of the state wanted accession with Pakistan. The current freedom movement also has the same objective. This is what needs to be highlighted. Kashmir is not a territorial dispute it is about right of self-determination of a people, which cannot be taken away or subdued through use of force and brutal methods.