The discourse of Dr Maleeha Lodhi –the permanent representative of Pakistan to United Nations (UN)– in the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) session which deliberated on how to effectively counter numerous threats to the world peace on last Saturday, was right in regards to what SC’s contemplated role according to the UN Charter is and how it could make itself useful in resolving global conflicts. But realistically speaking it was a voice in the wilderness at a forum which historically has been used by the big powers like the United States (US) and its allies as a tool to promote and secure their global interests. They have supported the SC efforts to resolve conflicts selectively through the use of their veto power.
Given the historical evidence and the festering conflicts like Palestine and Kashmir, it can be safely concluded that the SC is not a peace-promoting entity. Nonetheless, it is interesting and worth recalling what Maleeha reiterated. The envoy emphasized: “selectivity in the implementation of SC resolutions and decisions, especially on longstanding disputes, notably Palestine and held Jammu and Kashmir must end and that the world today is hardly at peace as conflicts abound, longstanding disputes fester, and the legitimate rights of people continue to be denied to them”. Reminding the SC of its inability to resolve issues she remarked, “Nothing diminishes the standing and credibility of the council more than when it watches in silence while norms of international law and its resolutions and decisions are trampled by member states or remain unimplemented due to the narrow interests invoked in big power politics. Every time the Council fails to address these omissions and breaches, it compromises the moral authority of its decisions that are otherwise legally binding.”
The fact is that the triumphant nations in the World War II created the UN and the UN charter drawn at the time was tilted towards serving their imperialistic designs rather than promoting peace and justice in the world. The US and its allies have used the UN to give legitimacy to their aggressive actions against smaller nations and fomenting conflicts around the globe to promote their strategic interests. Attacks on Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan, the volatile situation in the Middle East, unqualified support for Israeli aggression against Palestinians and grabbing of their land in breach of UN resolutions, the shifting of US Embassy to Jerusalem and the festering conflict in Syria are irrefutable evidence to the inefficacy of the SC.
Similarly the indifference shown by US and its western allies to the blatant violation of human right in the IHK by the Indian security forces and the resolution of the Kashmir conundrum in conformity with the UN resolutions as a reward to India for promoting their agenda to check the burgeoning influence of China in the region and beyond, is a ranting confirmation of their hypocritical disposition. The UN which depends for major chunk of its funding and the appointment of whose Secretary General depends on the benign nod of these powers cannot go against their wishes. That is what has been happening and will continue to happen so long as the UN operates under the present charter. It might sound a sweeping statement to many, but it is the stark reality of this world.
The worth of a nation and its ability to play an effective role in the management of world affairs depends on its economic and military strength as well as the strength of its political system. That explains why the pleadings of the small nations lacking these ingredients remain a voice in the wilderness. Pakistan may be a nuclear power boasting a highly professional fighting force to ward off security threats to its territorial integrity, but the reality is that on the economic and political front it remains vulnerable to the machinations of the big powers and the dictates of the world financial institutions.
The legitimacy of a cause is not sufficient to win global support in the permeating global environment and the unfurling power politics. The right to self-determination may be a world-wide recognised fundamental right, but it cannot be attained automatically. UN resolutions or no resolutions the settlement of any conflict or success of any freedom struggle depends on the willingness of the big powers to support it if they perceive it to serve their global strategic interests. Independence of East Timor is quintessential of this approach. That is the prism through which they look at the challenges and conflicts at the worldwide level.
As things stand at the moment the resolution of the Palestinian issue and Kashmir dispute through UN or with the assistance of the US and its allies remain as elusive as ever. Instead, there are strong warnings regarding accentuation of the conflict in the Middle East on Palestinian question as well as India adopting a more belligerent posture towards Pakistan and continuing with its barbaric oppression in the Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) to suppress the freedom movement.
It is most regrettable to note that India by becoming an agent of US and its allies in forestalling the emergence of China as number one economic and military power and the successful implementation of CPEC, is importing instability in the region which eventually could also undermine its long-term strategic interests and economic progress. The realisation of the dream of shared economic prosperity and peace in the region undoubtedly hinges on the resolution of regional disputes including Kashmir.
Under the circumstances much depends on the ability of the leadership on both sides of the line to comprehend the dangers lurking on the horizon in regards to peace and stability in the region and the need to recalibrate their relations by resolving their bilateral disputes in their larger interest. It is indeed a very challenging undertaking which requires courage and foresight in orchestrating a change in the hardened attitudes and feelings of eternal animosity rubbed in through incessant propaganda from both sides over the years. History is a witness to the fact that wars are not the solution and no conflict can last forever. If nations fighting hundred years war can become friends and partners after realising their follies then why can’t India and Pakistan foster bonhomie learning from the historical lessons?
Until that miracle happens Pakistan must continue to agitate the Kashmir issue at all available international forums including UNSC persisting with its well known stance of extending moral, diplomatic and political support to the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as enunciated in the UN resolutions simultaneously persisting with her efforts for resumption of bilateral dialogue to defuse the tensions and finding a way forward towards resolution of mutual disputes including the core issue of Kashmir.
n The writer is a freelance columnist.