Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani
Political vandalism, military aggression and cultural invasion, would not serve any purpose in Jammu and Kashmir. Consent of the people is the basis of any legitimacy of governance and India has lost it. Government of India has to yield to “The ultimate objective of a fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations”. A UN supervised plebiscite has been written into solemn agreements by the two Governments and endorsed by the UN Security Council. These agreements have been affirmed and reaffirmed by the two governments many times.
These people are known to the United Nations for the last 72 years and very rightly recorded as “ …the people of Jammu and Kashmir , who are worthy of the right of their own self-determination through a free, secure and impartial plebiscite. They are a people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life-giving waters”.
People of Kashmir are passing through the most difficult times in the history of Kashmir. Indian Government and those Indians who trust in the number and ammunition of their army in Kashmir, need to know that the people and habitat, at the end of the day have to return to the State Subjects and non-State Subjects would return to the visa restriction, which was rescinded on 31 March 1959.
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These people of Kashmir could not be transported to any other State of India and caged in captivity. India does not have history on its side to vanquish an unwilling people or transport them to Mars. Kashmiris are known to the United Nations for the last 72 years and very rightly recorded as “the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are worthy of the right of their own self-determination through a free, secure and impartial plebiscite. They are a people of legend, song and story, associated with snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys and life giving waters”.
United Nations has frozen these people into a state of non-defence. It has been accepted at the UN that “plebiscite must inspire confidence in everybody”. It must also seem fair to six elements, namely, the Government of Pakistan, to the insurgents, to the tribesmen, to the Government of India, to the other inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir, and to the outside world.
A plebiscite which according to the British time-table was to take place by October 1948, has dragged on to this date. October was suggested because, it was explained that soon after October, winter and snow fall would make the UN supervised vote difficult for people.
Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain even proposed to Prime Minister of Pakistan, on 22 November 1947, asking him, “Would you like me to take private soundings from the President of the International Court of Justice to find out whether he is of the opinion that it would be practicable and he would be willing to try to get together a small team of international experts, not connected with India, Pakistan or the United Kingdom, in the event of a joint request being preferred by the Governments of India and Pakistan for this to be done”. British Prime Minister added “I should be delighted to take such a step if you and the Prime Minister of India think it would be helpful. I am sending an identical message to the Prime minister of India”.
It was exactly after 3 years and 9 months on 27 August 1951 Office of South Asian Affairs and Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs of United States prepared a document on Kashmir titled, “Kashmir Dispute: Future Action”. The document stated, “At some time in the course of our efforts, we might consider asking the Security Council to request the International Court of Justice to render an advisory opinion regarding the legality of the act of the Maharaja of Kashmir in signing an instrument of accession to India. If the ICJ finds the accession was invalid, this would knock out one of the principal Indian arguments supporting their occupation of Kashmir.” US had taken United Kingdom Foreign Office on board but put the desire of going to ICJ on hold, fearing it might take considerable time.
India and Pakistan shall have to return to Resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949, because these two resolutions have won the express agreement of both India and Pakistan. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the plan submitted to them, provision is made for arbitration, and, to make assurance doubly sure, arbitration is to be carried out by an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators appointed not by a political body but by the President of the International Court of Justice. Arbitration has been supported by China, USA and UK. Britain has said “Since there is disagreement by the parties on this, arbitration, provides the only suitable and perhaps the only possible means of determination.”
In addition to the return to the basic mechanism, we have a template advanced by the United States of America. US has favoured an “agreed” – and not an imposed solution. It proposed at the 571stmeeting of UN Security Council held on 30 January 1952 that an agreed solution should take into account, three elements, “first, a definite period for demilitarization; secondly, the scope of demilitarization and quantum of forces that will remain at the end of the period of demilitarization; thirdly, the day for the formal induction into office of the Plebiscite Administrator”.
There is no exit ramp for India on Kashmir. Netherlands at 556th Meeting of UN Security Council held on 10 November 1951, has made it clear that “The lack of agreement therefore, does not concern this right of self-determination. It concerns the ways and means and procedures to establish the conditions for a fair expression of the will of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir who want to make their choice free from any kind of fear or intimidation.”
If we impede the Kashmiri peoples walk to self-determination and block UN supervised ballot, we shall be left with a conflict of armies. It is better that we work through co-operation of peoples, which is the enduring way for people to determine their own destiny and way of life. India may have made an attempt to technically dismember the State under its control, it should note that “pending the holding of a plebiscite, neither India nor Pakistan can claim sovereignty over the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” India and Pakistan have used only four out of the seven options provided under article 33 of the UN Charter. In addition, UN encourages a bilateral engagement provided it remains – consistent with the principles of UN Charter.
The author is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.
Source: Matrix Mag