South Asia: UN resolutions and Kashmir

By Manzoor Chandio
Writtin on Sept 3, 2003

WHAT we are noticing, specially after the Kargil fiasco, is a renewed infatuation of the Pakistan government for the UN’s Kashmir proposals.
From head of the state to cabinet members, statements are being issued that the conflict should be resolved in line with the UN resolutions.
The rhetoric of some political parties say the world body’s proposals offer the people of Kashmir a choice between Pakistan and India.
On the Indian side of the Valley, the APHC boycotts election again and again, saying it is no substitute for a plebiscite, promised by the UN half a century ago.
The interim constitution of Azad Jammu and Kashmir wants the conflict resolution in accordance with the freely-expressed will of the people through a UN-sponsored plebiscite.
Even India sometimes manoeuvres resolutions in its favour by demanding withdrawal of Pakistan forces, “organized and unorganized, fighting or participating in hostilities” on the basis of the UN resolution of Aug 13, 1948.
The resolution asks Pakistan to withdraw its “troops”, “nationals”, and “tribesmen”, who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting — as their presence “in the territory of the state of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation.
“Pending a final solution, the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administrated by the local authorities under the surveillance of the UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan).”
The same resolution favours the presence of the Indian army on the pretext of law and order situation.
It says: “The Indian government will maintain those forces of the army which in agreement with the UNCIP are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order.”
India always takes advantage of this resolution whenever there are talks to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio.
It seeks the withdrawal of Pakistan troops from Azad Kashmir first.
Perhaps last peace talks broke on this intransigence of India.
That was why Pakistan had abandoned these resolutions at Shimla and Agra.
At Shimla prime minister Z. A. Bhutto agreed to resolve the issue bilaterally. While at Agra President Musharraf persuaded Prime Minister Vajpayee to recognize the Kashmir region as a whole as a “core issue” but in vain.
There is no denying the fact that a plebiscite is the only way to resolve the dispute as mentioned in the several resolutions of the world body.
The UN in 1950 had agreed to appoint Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz as the Plebiscite Administrator who even had to work with the Indian government to “conduct a free and impartial plebiscite”.
A resolution adopted by the UN Commission for India and Pakistan on Jan 5, 1949, clearly says: “A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the commission that arrangements for it have been completed.”
These arrangements include “an agreed programme of progressive demilitarization.
“When the demilitarization preparatory to the plebiscite has been accomplished to the satisfaction of the UN representative, the Plebiscite Administrator (PA) should proceed forthwith to exercise the functions assigned to him under the terms of resolution of Jan 5, 1949”.
Resolution 126 (1957) calls for demilitarization of the region “as one of the steps towards a settlement.”
Now much water has flowed under the bridge. Since then we have witnessed the nuclearization of the South Asian theatre.
Above all, to the satisfaction of India the Kashmir issue is out of the UN.
Why then our policymakers insist on resolving the Kashmir issue on the basis of these “unworkable” resolutions of the UN?

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