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Peace Watch » Kashmir-Talk » Pakistan Taking Kashmir To UN?

Pakistan Taking Kashmir To UN?

Back To Old Battleground
Z.G. Muhammad

Sixty seven years after their birth, India and Pakistan, have failed to resolve their disputes. The relations between the two continue to be on a short fuse. Under the weight of their own inaction, the protracted composite dialogue and back channel confabulations started in 2003 for settling their disputes have once again come to cropper. During past fifteen months, notwithstanding, nudging from Washington and Beijing and the two countries agreeing to resume talks at the level of foreign secretaries and at the level of NSAs stumped these over some non-issues- having no history of becoming stumbling block in the dialogue between two countries. Meeting of Hurriyat with Pakistan leaders seen in the context of such meetings in the past was not going to have any impact on the NSA talks. The hullabaloo over this symbolic gesture was uncalled for.
The NSA level talks would help in reducing growing tension between New Delhi and Islamabad finding a bloody expression in the killing of innocents’ civilians across the 740 km long LOC and the Working Boundary. The mechanism created for ensuring calm along the LOC after the 2003 ceasefire agreement despite being in place was purposely put out of operations. It does augurs well that on Saturday , the three day meeting between Director Generals of Border Security Forces and Rangers of the two countries ended at a positive note with the two sides agreeing to ‘stop ceasefire violations along the LOC and the Working Boundary.’ Historically, such agreements have always been very brittle and fragile with very short life unless these are supported by sustained dialogue and engagement at political levels for resolving the outstanding disputes. So far there are no indications about possibility of a serious engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad. New Delhi wants no engagement on Kashmir but only on terror and Islamabad has been insisting on including Kashmir – ‘mother of all other issues’ at serial one on the agenda instead of at eight.
For past over a week, after the termination of the NSA level talks there are all indications the battle over the core issue and other outstanding issues between the two countries will be taken to Turtle Bay area of Manhattan, in New York City – where it will be fought on the floor of the United Nations. On 5 September 2015, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative in the United Nations in a letter to the President of the Security Council, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of the Russian Federation, raised the issue of ceasefire violations by India. In her letter giving details about the situation along the LOC, she requested him ‘to circulate the letter as an official document of the Security Council.’ In the recent history, it is for the first time that Pakistan Ambassador to UN has been proactively raising the issue of ceasefire violations with top UN officials and demanding restoring sanctity to UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Jammu and Kashmir and allowing them to play their role in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. Seen in right perspective seeking rightful role for the UNMOGIP in the state is making a statement that notwithstanding New Delhi’s interpretation of the Shimla Agreement Kashmir continues to be an international dispute.
Pakistan sending letter to UN Security Council came as a “surprise” to India’s envoy in UN Asoke Mukerji. He commented ‘Pakistan instead of taking the issue to UN should discuss its “concerns” over LoC ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir bilaterally under Shimla Agreement’. The letter sent by Maleeha Lodhi to UNSC President needs to be seen in the context of her speech on August 20, 2015 in the Security Council where she sought bigger role for the OIC in global peace. Underlining unique character of the 57 UN member states organization spanning over four continents she told members of the Security Council, “Collectively, and in cooperation with the UN, it has the capabilities to address and overcome these challenges including Palestine and other Middle East conflicts as well as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute”. She in fact sought mediatory role for the OIC for the resolution of the Kashmir Dispute. For over past two and half decade the OIC has been regularly adopting resolutions supporting right to self-determination for people of Jammu and Kashmir. It has also appointed an envoy for Kashmir. New Delhi has not been granting permission to him to visit Kashmir. It has also accorded observers’ status to the Hurriyat.
Pakistan in fact scored a point On Friday 11 Sept 15, when UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution on “cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).” India has serious reservation about the resolution extending the role of OIC in seeking solution to other conflicts- which obviously suggests it gaining international approval for playing a role in the resolution of Kashmir problem. Something Maleeha Lodi had pleaded for in her August speech. India expressed its concern over it and stated ‘OIC has no standing to resolve disputes affection non-member states.’ Having second largest Muslim population India for long has been asking for membership in OIC, which Pakistan has been opposing.
The other major development that can have its impact on Kashmir internationally has been the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approving a resolution allowing the Palestinians to raise their flags at UN headquarters ─ “a symbolic step pursued by the Palestinians in their quest for an independent state.”
For over two decade, from January 1, 1948 after India took the dispute to the United Nations, Kashmir Dispute has dominated debates in the General Assembly and Security Council. The question arises, if the resolution on Palestine in the General Assembly despite opposition by Israel and US by emboldens Pakistan to mobilize OIC or any other friendly to introduce a resolution in the Security Council seeking implementation of the 1948 and 1949 UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

Published in Greater Kashmir on 14-9-15

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