July 26 (By Mazhar Iqbal)
India doesn’t accept Pakistan’s claims with regards to Kashmir. Pakistan’s position in Kashmir (historically known as the state of Jammu & Kashmir) is based on two narratives. The traditional and informal narrative combines a variety of claims pertaining to territory, ideology, Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination, security, sovereignty and water rights. The unconventional narrative is based on the UN Security Council resolutions, which provide that the final disposition of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people.
Pakistan doesn’t accept Indian claims. India claims that the rulers of the former Kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir signed an instrument of accession in October 1947, officially handing control of the disputed
area over to India. Pakistan doubts the very existence of the instrument of accession and insists that the then rulers of Kashmir did not have the support of most Kashmiris. Pakistan also claims that the Hindu rulers handed over control of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian pressure, thus invalidating the legitimacy of the claims.
What is United Nations Perspective?
The United Nations (UN) recognizes Kashmir as a disputed territory. Historically, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has passed a number of resolutions confirming the status of Kashmir as disputed territory and asking both countries to hold a free and impartial referendum to determine the final disposition of the
region. Latterly, the UN has also favoured a final solution of the issue on the basis of bilateral arrangements. The UN has reiterated on several occasions that the only way out is through bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan.
Who else is interested in Kashmir?
Indian media repeatedly claims that the Pakistan administered part of the disputed state has been the hotbed of Chinese and US attention. China’s active involvement in development projects in this region and increased US funding in socio-economic uplift schemes has been asserted by India to be politically motivated moves in this region. Apart from smaller projects, the US and China have also
invested in mega projects concerning earthquake rehabilitation, water management and education, etc.
Why issue has remained alive?
Significant attempts to resolve the dispute have been made at the international level, yet, has it remained live in history for obvious reasons. Collective mediation attempts by a number of UN member states, international organisations or individually sponsored by dignitaries and back channel diplomats from these states have not been fruitful so far. As an alternative recourse to official channels of diplomacy, mediation is used when conflict management efforts by disagreeing parties have reached a stand-off or both of them are prepared to cooperate with external mediation. Except passing much-quoted resolutions, The UN Security Council has, so far, failed to reengage India and Pakistan in a meaningful dialogue to permanently settle the problem. This is mainly due to the unsteady and devious nature of bilateral arrangements between the two countries. India does not accept an impasse over the Kashmir conflict under current bilateral arrangements mainly quoting the Simla Agreement as a turning point in history. Pakistan, despite being open to international mediation, seems diplomatic to address those issues that India repeatedly demands to tackle first before engaging into a mediation process.
Why UN is unable to resolve the issue?
To reengage India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the UN needs to consider the deep rooted legal framework of the conflict. India took the case to the UN in 1948 and ceased to pursue it after a bilateral agreement with Pakistan in July 1972. The Simla Agreement was negotiated between both countries along with the UN and both of
them agreed to a new line of control based on the ceasefire line of the 1971 war.
India claims that this agreement superseded all previous UN resolutions. After incorporating article 370 into Indian constitution, the administrative and constitutional matters pertaining to Indian part of the region portray a picture which gives this region a status parallel to the rest of the Indian states. However, before these tricky local and bilateral arrangements, the Kashmir case was quite clear on the UN agenda and we can see that initially the UN played a responsible role in this conflict. Both parties continue to hold differing interpretations of the Simla Agreement. Pakistan argues that it has not accepted the line of control as an international border and the UN resolutions on Kashmir are still valid. Pakistan also asserts that it reserves the right to bring the issue to the UN.
Whereas, India is not in favour of giving greater role to the UN, not even, letting the UN military observers continue to oversee the line of control in disputed territories in Kashmir. India calls the UN intervention in Kashmir a by-product of history and blames it for not being competent to resolve the matter. India dismisses Pakistan’s
attempts to rake up the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly and asserts that the state of Jammu and Kashmir remains an integral part of the country. Pakistan reiterates in that Kashmir is its jugular vein.
Mazhar Iqbal is a peace and human rights activist from Pakistan Administered Kashmir, and has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and websites. Born and raised in a conflict area, he has a natural bent to study and reflect on the happenings across the Line of Control in Kashmir. Thus, generally but not exclusively focus of his writings is on situation of human rights, peace and political developments in this zone. He is associated with Press for Peace and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: (Euro Asia)