The August 5 abolition of Article 370 by India – arbitrary, unilateral revocation of the special status of Kashmir – caught Pakistan literally by surprise. It has thrown Kashmiri Muslims and the region in a blistering political crisis.
Pakistan’s response, as usual, has been haphazard – nomination of a seven-member committee to chart the future course. Ironically not a single Kashmiri expert or jurist is on the committee. Even more ironic is the fact that between 1965 and 1996, Pakistan officially hardly referred to the UN Security Council Resolutions on the issue.
The responses of civil-military leaders suggest the emphasis is more on fighting the crisis politically rather than digging into the international legal instruments and Indian commitments on Kashmir at the United Nations itself.
Pakistan must anchor its case in the jurisprudence of the Kashmir dispute.
It must remind the Security Council and the General Assembly of
a) The Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s 27th October 1947 letter to his Pakistani counterpart: “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the state to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view.”
b) That India surrendered the provisional accession (between Maharaja and India) at the UN Security Council for a “UN-supervised” vote of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is elucidated in para 46 of the minutes of 773rd Meeting of UN SC held on 20 February 1957.
c) That the Indian act is also against a UN Resolution of 30 March has no legal merit.
d) That post-August 5, the Indian army has become an alien occupation force, in complete violation of 7 restraints – 4 bilateral and 3 UN on the number, conduct and deployment of security forces.
e) That Jammu and Kashmir has reverted to its independence of 15 August 1947, when it entered into a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Pakistan.
f) That Government of Pakistan is a legitimate party to the dispute, acknowledged in the UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) Resolutions in Azad Kashmir Constitution Act 1974, UNCIP Resolutions and also under the Stand Still Agreement of 15 August 1947 – hence it is not – by any means an internal matter of India until the UN settles it.
g) That Pakistan would like to revive a proposal it made at the 761st Meeting of the UN Security Council on 16 January 1957, requesting it to send a UN Force into Kashmir.
Some of the aforementioned points have been raised by the Jammu Kashmir Human Rights Council, which has also been regularly supporting the UNHR Council on the subject.
Once Pakistan manages to legally contest the case of Kashmir at the UNSC, it will have to call out P5 at the SC as well as major European powers on a fundamental issue; do they believe in the primacy of UN Resolutions – which are akin to international law?
Do they side with oppressed Kashmiris and their universally acknowledged right of self-determination or with motivated and brazen political moves initiated by an India that has literally trashed UN instruments of conflict resolution?
China, as expected, has already dismissed the Indian high-handedness but how will the United States and its major NATO allies react to the forcible annexation of Kashmir through a presidential order?
Their credibility, as well as Pakistan’s ability to smartly position itself for the legal battle at the Security Council, are at stake – yet again.
The author is Executive Director CRSS and Editor in Chief Matrix Mag.
Under special arrangement with Matrix Mag