Dr Syed Nazir Gilani
If we do not want to fail the people of Jammu and Kashmir, we have to correct our self-serving and wasteful approach
We often remind ourselves that it is of no use if we bury our heads in the sand like an Ostrich. But when it comes to its real-time personal application, we dither and look out for justifications for burying our heads in the sand. Justifications would not avert the danger. In fact, Ostrich does not bury her head in the sand. She just rotates her eggs hidden in the sand and her actions have been misinterpreted.
On the contrary, we do bury our heads in the sand and we have done it more than once on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. We buried our heads in the sand until India decided to go for the 5 August 2019 action in Kashmir. On 15 January 1948, India surrendered her conditional and limited accession at the UN Security Council for an UN-supervised vote and we decided to bury our heads in the sand. Britain proposed that because of snow in Kashmir, the Plebiscite should be completed by October 1948 and we decided to bury our heads in the sand.
The UN Plebiscite Administrator in Jammu and Kashmir, Admiral Nimitz, planned to complete the Plebiscite by First November 1950 and was working on the voters’ list. We decided to bury our heads in the sand. In August 1951, the 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” for filing a reference in the ICJ to demolish the Indian claim on Kashmir and we decided to bury our heads in the sand. India misinterpreted the Shimla Agreement and forced us to bury our heads in the sand and to keep silent on Kashmir for 32 years at the UN SC from November 1965 to September 1996.
India requested the UN Security Council to keep 21,000 non-arms bearing soldiers and we decided to bury our heads in the sand until she raised the number to 900,000 soldiers in Kashmir. India committed an offence on 5 August 2019 and our heads are still in the sand.
On 5 March 2020, India organised an international conference in Dubai. Kashmir was the first agenda item and the 5 August 2019 action was discussed as a “significant internal action” of India. The OIC and we decided to bury our heads in the sand. Jammu and Kashmir Government (Indian occupied) has signed an MoU with Dubai for real estate development, industrial parks and super-speciality hospitals. The spread of benefits is in the interests of the common people but the use of the Indian carrier belt by Dubai means a threat to the Kashmir cause. Should we bury our heads in the sand?
Indian Parliament has passed a resolution on 22 February 1994, calling for retrieving the PoK (Azad Kashmir). On 11 March 2020, in an answer to question number 2977 in the Parliament, the Indian Minister for External Affairs said, “Government’s consistent and principled position, as also enunciated in the Parliament resolution adopted unanimously by both Houses on 22 February 1994, is that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have been, are and shall be an integral part of India.
Government monitors all developments taking place in the territories of India, including in territories that are under the illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan. We have consistently called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal and forcible occupation, and to put an end to the human rights violations and desist from continued attempts to bring material change in these territories.”
Keeping all this in mind, we need to examine the latest statement made on Sunday 21 November by Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of India. He said that our next agenda is to retrieve Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK). The minister was the chief guest at a meeting of the ‘Mirpur Balidan Diwas’ programme. The programme is dedicated to people displaced from Azad Kashmir and India calls them displaced people from Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK).
The Union Minister said that leadership that has the capacity and the will to abrogate Article 370, also has the capacity to “retrieve PcK” from the “illegal occupation of Pakistan.” He told the audience that the partition of the South Asian subcontinent was the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind and added that while India suffered the tragedy of partition, Jammu and Kashmir suffered the second tragedy of losing out a part of the erstwhile state to Pakistan. “Retrieving Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir is next on the agenda.”
Union Minister said that retrieving PcK is not only a political and national agenda but also a responsibility towards the respect for human rights because “our brethren in PoJK are living in inhuman conditions” and have been mercilessly denied even basic amenities like healthcare and education. Jitendra Singh is Lok Sabha member from the Udhampur constituency. A camp was also organised to make domicile certificates for the members of the PcK community living in Delhi. The minister asked every member of the displaced community to get their domicile certificate.
Indian Government has no confusion in regard to its future conduct in Jammu and Kashmir. If we do not want to fail the people of Jammu and Kashmir, we have to correct our self-serving and wasteful approach to Kashmir. We need to give up burying our heads in the sand and come out to confront our errors and inaction.
Indian Union Minister has created a humanitarian connection between these displaced people living in Delhi with people in Mirpur Azad Kashmir. In fact, these displaced people called by the Government of India as displaced from Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) are State subjects. We have to own them.
The choice is either to keep burying our heads in the sand and keep committing follies to assist India in her stand or to play our cards right. Pakistan is also home to 2.5 million displaced Kashmiris since 1947. We have to recognise them in accordance with the UN template on Kashmir. Clear guidance is in para 12 of UN Security Council Resolution 47 on Jammu and Kashmir.
India can’t commit aggression against Pakistan and retrieve Azad Kashmir, which it has called Pakistan controlled Kashmir, as long as the Government of Pakistan and the Government of Azad Kashmir conduct themselves in accordance with the shared control as agreed and provided under UNCIP Resolutions. Any dilution of this faith in the arrangement under UNCIP Resolutions or any effort to tamper with the responsibilities assumed under UNCIP Resolution would land Pakistan in an area where – Indian interpretation would assume merit.
The government of Azad Kashmir through the offices of the Government of Pakistan, OIC, China, and the Commonwealth or through countries, which are home to Kashmiri Diaspora, should put United Nations on notice, in regard to the latest statement made by the Union Minister of India. Burying heads in the sand has no merit and it cannot avert the dangers ahead. In the interim, we have to respond to Indian allegations that “our brethren in PoJK are living in inhuman conditions” and have been mercilessly denied even basic amenities like healthcare and education.”