Leading English daily newspapers of Pakistan, reported the British shocker that Kashmir should not be a precondition to the Pak-India dialogue. The British Foreign Secretary also asked Pakistan to ‘speed up’ investigations into the Pathankot attack – again a master stroke to increment low Indian score in the matter. A two member JKCHR delegation had a meeting with the senior officials in the British High Commission to discuss the merits and demerits of the advice on Wednesday 16 March 2016.
The advice given by Philip Hammonds advising Pakistan to delete Kashmir from the Pakistan-India dialogue has dangerous consequences for Pakistan. It is unfortunate and a misdirected wisdom of a British parliamentarian. Foreign Secretary has caused an offence to nearly a million British Kashmiris and many more living in Azad Jammu as well as Indian occupied Kashmir and others as a diaspora all over the world. The advice violates the character of British policy on Kashmir since November 1947 before the matter featured at the UN in January 1948. It was British Prime Minister who in paragraph 3 and 4 of his telegram addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan in November 1947 suggested a reference to be made to International Court of Justice.
British officials in our meeting have reiterated that there is no change in British policy on Kashmir and that the foreign secretary had been misquoted. This is the routine diplomatic phrase, used to cover up, the real intentions. United Kingdom owes an apology for the British parliamentarian’s ‘no holds barred politics’. “There is a compelling need that UN mechanism on Kashmir is agitated for the interest of the parties. French contribution at the UN Security Council during the debate on Kashmir represents a lead wisdom. According to this “the organization of a free plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir would be the most effective and possibly the only means of stopping hostilities in those states, as it would, give the population the assurance that they would be free to decide their own fate. Our main preoccupation, therefore, should be the organization of a plebiscite”.
Foreign Secretary remains at variance to the British position prepared by Attorney General and Foreign Office legal advisers affirming that Maharajah’s execution of the Instrument of Accession to India ‘was inconsistent with Kashmiri’s obligation to Pakistan and for that reason invalid.’ United Nations has outsourced a duty to the Government of Pakistan in resolving the question of self-determination and Pakistan government has entered into a Constitutional arrangement under UNCIP Resolutions with the Government of AJK in The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution Act 1974 and has a duty under article 257 of the Constitution of Pakistan. It can’t bargain against its duties as a member nation of UN and as a country that follows constitution and rule of law. If Pakistan falls in this trap and shows slows on Kashmir, it could lose its legal moorings and attract the label of an occupying State in Azad Kashmir.
Government of Pakistan has undertaken, “to provide for the better Government and administration of Azad Jammu and Kashmir until such time as the status of Jammu and Kashmir is determined in accordance with the freely expressed will of the people of the State through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations as envisaged in the UNCIP Resolutions adopted from time to time”.
Dialogue is an instrument used by mankind all through the civilised history to settle disputes and no one would have an issue with Pak-Indian dialogue. However, no dialogue could berate or compromise the primacy of Kashmir as the right of a people to self-determination. It is one of the basic principles of UN Charter and has to be flagged accordingly. Pakistan has already suffered a serious blow by failing to raise Kashmir at the UN Security Council from November 1965 to August 1996. Kashmir issue has lost its regularity enjoyed from 1948 to 1996 and since after 1996 Pakistan or any member country has to notify the President of the UN Security Council to retain Kashmir on the agenda.
Kashmir is a blend of unprecedented commitment to undo the Indian occupation and a disturbing entrepreneurial commercial interest as well. It has allowed a mushroom of interests of all manner to grow and it seems that the death of a generation from 1990-2016 is being traded by vests interests for private gains and has thrown up an elite politics, which survives on routine press statements. Pakistan continues to suffer from its mercurial diplomacy on Kashmir. It has been engulfed by overwhelming Indian narrative and the tickle of cheap gossip and flattery of a group of Kashmiris, who have no clue of the jurisprudence of Kashmir case and the gregarious role of the Government of Pakistan.
Pakistan as a party to the dispute has assumed a constitutional role in the affairs of Azad Kashmir and a direct role in Gilgit and Baltistan under April 1949 Karachi Agreement. Under the UN Resolution Government of Pakistan has to ensure that Government of India fulfils her UN obligation under paragraph 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948. Under paragraph 6 the Resolution prescribes that, “The Government of India should undertake to ensure that the Government of the State invite the major political groups to designate responsible representatives to share equitably and fully in the conduct of the administration at the ministerial level while the plebiscite is being prepared and carried out”.
There is no evidence that the Government of Pakistan has ever since April 1948 or the Kashmiri leaders have ever – to date agitated the establishment of a Kashmiri government at Srinagar as prescribed by the United Nations mechanism on Kashmir. It would have empowered the people of Jammu and Kashmir and ensured a representation from Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan and the Diaspora. It would have weakened the Indian control in Kashmir and inducted a very helpful influence from Pakistan as well. This government had to function under the supervision of United Nations.
We find no evidence that Government of Pakistan has ever since April 1948 forced Government of India or brought to the notice of the UN Security Council that Indian Government was dragging her feet to comply with para 7 of UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948, prescribing that, “The Government of India should undertake that there will be established in Jammu and Kashmir a Plebiscite Administration to hold a plebiscite as soon as possible on the question of the accession of the State to India or Pakistan”. Forcing Government of India to discharge her UN prescribed duties in para 6 and 7 would have held India in her tracks and allowed Government of Pakistan to stake her due claim as a party to the dispute in verifying the credibility of any steps taken under these two paras of the UN Resolution.
There is a hue and cry for the non-implementation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir. Prime Minister of Pakistan highlighted the case of non-implementation at the 69th and 70th session of UN General Assembly. Unfortunately it is a routine reflex of Pakistan’s national mercurial policy on Kashmir. Pakistan or the Kashmiri leaders have yet to touch the jurisprudence of their duties under UN Resolutions. Kashmir case has never been agitated according to UN Resolutions. For example para 8 of UN Resolution of 21 April 1948 has charged India with a duty that, “The Government of India should undertake that there will be delegated by the State to the Plebiscite Administration such powers as the latter considers necessary for holding a fair and impartial plebiscite including, for that purpose only, the direction and supervision of the State forces and police”.
UN Resolutions have outsourced duties for Government of India, Government of Pakistan and the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. We did not raise Kashmir at the UN from November 1965 to August 1996 and paid a heavy price. In the same manner we have never made any effort to force India and the Government at Srinagar to honour the duties prescribed in the UN Resolutions. Bad advice has always spoiled Kashmir case and the recent British bad advice could have dangerous consequences for Pakistan and Kashmir case.