While the Pakistani nation celebrated its Independence Day with unprecedented enthusiasm, unswerving commitment to surmount the diabolical challenges confronting the country and pursuing the democratic path as envisioned by the founding father, the Kashmiri Youth undaunted by the oppression let loose by the Indian security forces, also joined their Pakistani brethren in the independence festivities by holding public rallies in the valley waiving Pakistani flag and vowing allegiance to Pakistan.
The International Kashmir lobby group known as Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK) which organized these rallies maintained that Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of Pakistan’s independence. The YFK also decided to observe Indian Independence Day as Black Day. The lobby group feels that India has no moral or legal grounds to celebrate Independence Day when it has usurped the basic right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir and is killing them mercilessly and occupying their land against their will in complete defiance of UN Resolutions.
It is an irrefutable reality that in spite of the ruthless use of force by the Indian security forces since the people of Kashmir launched their freedom struggle in 1989 and particularly in the aftermath of the killing of Burhan Wani, the movement has snow-balled and the Kashmiri youth are now on the forefront to take it to its logical end. The Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat also acknowledged this reality in an interview with The Economic Times in June this year. Reportedly he said “I support dialogue to solve the ongoing problems in Kashmir. Talks must happen. We kill them and more of them join. Infiltration can be controlled, but this cycle of recruitment of local youth can go on and one. So let us give peace a chance and see” The statement by the Indian Army Chief corroborated the credentials of the freedom movement as an indigenous phenomenon contrary to the Indian stance and underlines the need for a negotiated settlement which ultimately will have to be resorted to.
When the BJP pulled out of coalition government in IHK in June, the Chief minister Mehbooba Mufit in a press conference after resigning her post said” It took us several months to form a mutual agenda with BJP and maintained that the Kashmir issue could only be resolved through talks which she insisted should he held with Pakistan and the people of Kashmir. She said that the agreed agenda was to boost reconciliation through alliance but BJP has betrayed that. The BJP move also came under severe criticism by leaders of Indian political parties including Rahul Gandhi who said “The opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance set fire to Jammu and Kashmir killing many innocent people including our brave soldiers. Incompetence, arrogance and hatred always fails”.
India must acknowledge the foregoing ground realities and read the writing on the Wall. It cannot subdue the freedom movement in Kashmir through the barrel of the gun. The US and its allies who have put blinkers on their eyes and refuse to see what is happening in Kashmir to secure their own strategic and commercial interests in this region through India, must also wake up to the emerging realities before it is too late. Peace in the region which is not only in the interest of both Pakistan and India but also of the world community is inextricably linked to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
The Indian intransigence to resolve the issue is an affront to the conscience of the world community as well as the UN as a peace making body which has miserably failed in holding the promised plebiscite in Kashmir in spite of the fact that it had repudiated the Indian stance of the question of accession of the state having been resolved by the constituent assembly of Kashmir through its resolutions 91 and 122 which clearly said that it could not be settled by any means other than a plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN.
India as late as 1972 while signing the Simla Agreement with Pakistan contrary to its claim of Kashmir being its integral part accepted the fact that it was a disputed territory. In that agreement both the countries agreed to resolve all the disputes between them including Kashmir through bilateral means. But regrettably even after the passage of 46 years since the signing of the agreement no headway has been made towards settlement of the Kashmir issue. The Indians have been postponing the dialogue on different pretexts whenever a window was opened for such an interaction. They have again fallen back to their stance that Kashmir was integral part of India.
Under the circumstances it becomes the responsibility of the UN and the world community to fulfill their obligations towards the people of Kashmir. Merely urging the two countries to resolve their difference through negotiations is not going to help in view of the prevailing situation in Kashmir and the Indian refusal to implement the UN resolutions.
The signing of a bilateral agreement with India did not in any way absolve the UN of its obligations in that respect. 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. As is evident as per UN charter resolution of the Kashmir dispute remains the responsibility of the UN because the bilateral arrangement has failed to produce the desired results.
It is pertinent to point out that according to the Simla Agreement both the countries also agreed that the principles and purposes of the UN charter shall govern the relations between the two countries. The last paragraph of the Agreement reads” Both governments agree that their respective heads will meet again at a mutually convenient time in the future and that in the meanwhile the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations, including the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations”.
In view of the foregoing facts it is clear beyond an iota of doubt that Kashmir was a disputed territory and the UN owed it to the people of Kashmir to facilitate the promised plebiscite. The UN and the world community must exert pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir issue in conformity with the UN resolutions and refrain from blatant violation of human rights which has even been corroborated in a report of the UN Human Rights Commission.
The writer is a freelance columnist.
The US and its allies who have put blinkers on their eyes and refuse to see what is happening in Kashmir to secure their own strategic and commercial interests in this region through India, must also wake up to the emerging realities before it is too late.