Kashmir Issue and UN Resolutions

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Ali Anwar

The right to self-determination is a basic norm of a democratic society

The only solution to the Kashmir issue is the implementation of the resolutions of the UN in true letter and spirit. A resolution was adopted by the UN Commission for India and Pakistan in 1949, in which the right to self-determination of Kashmir was guaranteed through an impartial plebiscite. India failed to conduct a free and fair plebiscite in Kashmir, even after more than seven decades, while violating international law. The innocent people of Kashmir are facing severe persecution at the hands of Indian forces for demanding their right to self-determination. The UN has failed miserably to implement its resolutions. There is a dire need for the world community to stand up against the tyranny and brutality of Indian forces while also fulfilling its promises made to the people of Kashmir.
Historically speaking, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is independent most of the time, except for some periods when it was incorporated in the vast empires, including the British Empire (mid-19th to mid-20th century). Kashmir was a part of the Sikh empire until 1846. Kashmir was sold to Gulab Singh of Jammu under the Treaty of Amritsar for Rs 7.5 million in 1846 when Sikhs were defeated by the British. A treaty was signed between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the British, under which he got the status of an independent princely ruler of Kashmir. Gulab Singh died in 1857 and was replaced by Rambir Singh (1857-85).
Two other Maharajas, Partab Singh (1885-1925) and Hari Singh (1925-49) also ruled Kashmir the same way. It was a very suppressive and authoritarian rule in Kashmir that started from Gulab Singh and was continued by his successors.
The population of Kashmir had 80 per cent Muslims at that time who stood against the tyrannical rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. He brutally crushed the mass uprising in 1931. Resultantly, the first political party of Kashmir named All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference was formed in 1932 by Sheikh Abdullah. It was later renamed National Conference in 1939.
Maharaja allowed limited democracy in 1934 and a Legislative Assembly was formed but dissatisfaction and hatred with his rule continued. The rulers of princely states were given a choice to freely accede to either India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Maharaja hesitated in Kashmir but the people were adamant to join Pakistan. There was unrest and Maharaja succumbed to Indian pressure and signed the controversial Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, while joining India. Kashmir was provisionally accepted into the Indian Union while a free and impartial plebiscite was still pending. It was mentioned in a letter that Governor-General of India Lord Mountbatten wrote to Maharaja on October 27, 1947. Mountbatten made it clear in the letter that the State would only be incorporated into the Indian Union after a reference had been made to the people of Kashmir. India is still running away from the plebiscite even after accepting it decades ago.
A war erupted between India and Pakistan in 1947. It was India, that first took the Kashmir dispute to the United Nations on January 1, 1948, during the war. After one year, the UN-brokered ceasefire between the two countries on January 1, 1949. It was the outcome of mutual consent by India and Pakistan that the UN Security Council and UN Commission for India and Pakistan adopted several resolutions after the war. The UNSC Resolution of April 21, 1948, says that both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite. The UNCIP Resolutions of August 3, 1948, and January 5, 1949, reinforced UNSC resolutions.
The people of Kashmir are waiting for their right to self-determination for the last seven decades while facing severe persecution at the hands of Indian forces. The whole world has seen the gross human rights violations in India, but still, no action is being taken against this brutality and genocide. There was seen a rapid increase in human rights violations in Kashmir since August 2019 when the Modi government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The Modi administration deployed a heavy contingent of forces in Kashmir while there was also no internet day before the announcement of “black law.” There was severe human rights violations including mass killings, forced disappearances, torture, rape, sexual abuse, the suppression of freedom of speech and bans on religious gatherings in Kashmir since then. There was a lockdown of months in Occupied Kashmir.
The time has come that the people of Kashmir must be given the right to self-determination through a transparent plebiscite. The right of self-determination is a basic norm of a democratic society and it provides a choice to certain individuals to decide about their future according to their wishes. But this right is completely denied by the so-called largest democratic country. The armed struggle, in this case, is inevitable as Kashmiris are suppressed through harsh tactics for demanding the right to self-determination. India labels this indigenous freedom struggle as terrorism to deceive the world. There is no truth in it that Pakistan supports the Kashmiri people and provides any assistance. It has been reported in foreign press that the Kashmiri agitation is indigenous.
Pakistan firmly believes in the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to self-determination in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Pakistan stands with the people of Kashmir unequivocally in their rightful struggle for freedom. The only way forward is giving the people of Kashmir free will to decide their future according to the UNSC resolutions. The whole world including the UN must put pressure on the Indian government to withdraw its illegal forces from Kashmir and give the people their right to self-determination.