Pakistan Invokes UN, Seeks Intervention On Kashmir
Pakistan has invoked the UN on Kashmir
NEW DELHI: The border hostilities between India and Pakistan have decisively reversed the clock by over a decade with bilateral relations sliding rapidly to new lows.
Pakistan has written to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, in a complete reversal of its position for over a decade, asking it to implement the UN resolutions for a plebiscite in Kashmir. In a clear move to re-internationalise Jammu and Kashmir, after a hiatus, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz has stated in a long letter listing his government’s position on the border state, “As you are aware, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the long outstanding issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions promising the holding of a plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations, for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, remain valid though unimplemented to date. For decades, Pakistan has been reminding the United Nations and the international community to fulfill that promise, in the interest of durable peace and security in the region.”
For the first time since 1947, then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tried to place relations on a new level by saying that his government would try and meet India “halfway” in a bid for peace, and was prepared to drop its demand for the implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir. As talks proceeded between New Delhi and Islamabad, Pakistan did move away from its stated position regarding the UN resolutions, and stopped referring to the implementation of the controversial resolutions that had been vociferously opposed by India all along.
This was seen as a major development by New Delhi at the time. And did ease the process of dialogue for the better particularly as Pakistan’s insistence, for a good five decades to allow a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir had always been a major irritant in bilateral relations. The decision to drop the demand had earned some criticism from Kashmiri separatists who, however, went along as the bilateral talks seemed to be proceeding on warmer-than-expected lines.
Musharraf in interviews with the media at that time had clarified,”We are for United Nations Security Council resolutions. However, now we have left that aside.If we want to resolve this issue, both sides need to talk to each other with flexibility, coming beyond stated positions, meeting halfway somewhere.”
The letter by Aziz thus is a major setback in bilateral relations, re-opening old issues and inviting UN intervention and interference again. This gives a handle to the international community to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir through the United Nations, and the respite in relations has clearly ended, being one of the first casualties of foreign policy since the new government came to power in Delhi.
The text of the letter, signed by Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz, is as follows:
I write to bring to your urgent attention the deteriorating security situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as along the working boundary between Pakistan and India, owing to deliberate and unprovoked violations of the ceasefire agreement and cross-border firing by the Indian forces over the past weeks.
As you are aware, the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is one of the long outstanding issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, whose resolutions promising the holding of a plebiscite, under the auspices of the United Nations, for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, remain valid though unimplemented to date. For decades, Pakistan has been reminding the United Nations and the international community to fulfill that promise, in the interest of durable peace and security in the region.
In his address to the UN General Assembly on 26 September, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had emphasized that the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir needed to be resolved. This is the responsibility of the international community. We cannot draw a veil on the issue of Kashmir, until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister had also reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to work for resolution of this issue through negotiations.
You would also recall that, in his meeting with you last month, the Prime Minister had underlined the need to implement UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and had also stressed the need to resolve the core issues between the two countries.
Unfortunately, India has adopted a policy that runs counter to its stated desire to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. India cancelled, unilaterally and without any plausible justification, the Foreign Secretary level talks that were scheduled to be held on 25 August 2014.
India has now escalated the situation along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the Working Boundary. Persistent shelling and firing by Indian forces has resulted in heavy civilian casualties on the Pakistan side. During the period 1-10 October, 2014, 20 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 22 violations along the Working Boundary were reported, resulting in 12 civilian casualties, 52 injured civilians and 9 injured military personnel on the Pakistani side. From June to August 2014, there were 99 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 32 along the Working Boundary. In all, during 2014, 174 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and 60 along the Working Boundary have been reported.
While exercising its right to self-defence, Pakistan has exercised utmost restraint and responsibility in responding to these provocations. The Government of Pakistan sincerely hopes that better sense would prevail on the Indian side to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.
Pakistan appreciates your statement of 9 October in which you expressed concern about the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, and have deplored the loss of lives and the displacement of civilians on both sides. You have also encouraged the Governments of India and Pakistan to resolve all differences through dialogue.
Your statement is timely and significant given the historic role and responsibility of the United Nations towards the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) also continues to carry out its mandate related to the strict observance of the ceasefire. Incidentally, as I write, UNMOGIP personnel are being escorted to areas along the Line of Control, to observe first-hand the ongoing ceasefire violations by the Indian side.
Pakistan remains committed to peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. This is in the best interest of both India and Pakistan and the region. Pakistan believes that the United Nations has an important role to play in promoting this objective, including through your good offices, which we have always welcomed, and the crucial role of the UNMOGIP on ground, which needs to be strengthened and facilitated under the current circumstances.
I would also be grateful if you could have this letter circulated as an official document of the Security Council.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration”.
The letter comes as the two countries remain engaged in a tit for tat blaming the other for “unprovoked firing.” Meanwhile, over a dozen civilians have lost their lives in the cross-fire, and close to 20,000 have fled their homes taking refuge in shelters and camps.
This round of firing began on Monday, after a calm September that in turn, followed an August that was witness to heavy exchanges of gunfire and shelling between border posts and left at least six people dead.
The hostilities come on the heels of the cancellation of secretary-level talks over Pakistan’s decision to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders in August. The talks had signalled the prospect of renewed ties between the two countries, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to attend his swearing-in ceremony, with the two leaders meeting in New Delhi on the same occasion.
Speaking at the United Nations last month, Sharif said that India’s decision to cancel the talks had resulted in a “missed opportunity.” Modi, speaking at the UN the next day, responded saying that India was not opposed to talks, but would not participate “in the shadow of terror” and that it was upto Pakistan to “create a conducive atmosphere for talks.”