The United Nations and Pak-India dispute over Jammu and Kashmir

Source:  Samaa Published in Freedom of Expression on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the on-going Indo-Pak war of words in the United Nations, it’s important to know about the UN itself.

Just imagine how the world might look if no opportunities were available for countries to discuss international matters. Would there be cooperation among countries? Would there be consensus on international matters? Would any of the international problems be resolved?

Countries generally enter into treaties in order to resolve matters between them. However, on more complex worldwide issues, such as world peace and promoting social justice for humanity, a forum is needed to foster discussion and decision. The United Nations is one such organization. The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War in order to prevent another such conflict, with one central mission: “the maintenance of international peace and security” by promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict.

The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world.At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193 member states. The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. The General Assembly shall meet every year in regular session commencing third week of September to December. It seems like Pakistan and India, this time round, had decided to bring their to the UNGA.

On Thursday 21 September, in New York, Prime minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged the U.N. Secretary General to appoint a special envoy for Kashmir and accused India’s military of brutality in Kashmir valley. The verbal fire exchange between neighboring countries started right after that. Expectedly, External Affairs Minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, rejected the allegations and accused Pakistan of backing several anti-India militant groups and helping them infiltrate Kashmir to stoke violence and carry out terrorist acts. In her speech on September 23 she targeted Pakistan by saying “Pakistan had only built Jihadi Factories” while India was building the nation through institutions and knowledge bank.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Maleeha Lodhi sought to turn the table on India by accusing India of promoting terrorism against it, violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and the spread of Hindu nationalism in India. Lodhi, however, was subjected to humiliation after she showed a picture of a Palestinian victim of violence claiming her to be a Kashmiris victim of the pallets gun. India has refused a bilateral dialogue with Pakistan, either composite or comprehensive.

Sushma Suwaraj had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been willing to engage with Pakistan, but Pakistan had spurned India’s positive gestures. Ms. Lodhi said India has been scuttling talks. Pakistan has been maintaining that unless there is progress on the “core issue” (pointing to the Kashmir) there can be no improvement in India -Pakistan ties.Both countries claim Kashmir, and have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan region, which they have disputed since partition and independence in 1947.

Now what next? Apparently, all the UN Security Council’s veto-wielding members – especially China, of course, and Russia – will be approached to get their support on declaring India a ‘terror sponsor’. It would need to get its evidence sourcing right to make any headway. And on that front Pakistan has to do a lot of homework.

It may not be an understatement to say that Pakistan may have an uphill task convincing the Security Council to declare India a ‘state sponsor of terror’, especially considering US President Donald Trump savagely called out Islamabad last month on the very issue it is accusing India of.

Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory according to the United Nations.Whereas, Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

The Kashmir issue is very complicated but ultimately the people who suffer the most are the Kashmiri people. Most international observers believe that although it is going to be a long and difficult road ahead, India and Pakistan should work together with strong involvement from the UN to resolve the Kashmir issue.

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