By M Kabir
Who is supposed to enforce UNSC resolutions, if not the UN secretary general?
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, while addressing a joint press conference with foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said, “Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council.” That was also the message transmitted through two UNSC meetings in the backdrop of the Indian action to end the special status of the state. Nobody can take an issue with those contentions but one tends to ask the Secretary General, whose responsibility is it to ensure that the UNSC resolutions were implemented in letter and spirit by all the parties to a dispute? Is he, as a custodian of the UN Charter, not under obligation to encourage the member states to show unqualified adherence to its objectives and principles? Why is he not initiating the move to have the Kashmir dispute resolved in conformity with the UNSC resolutions?
The UNSC resolutions make it obligatory for the UN and the disputing parties to ensure the exercise of the right of self-determination by the people of Kashmir to decide the question of its accession to either of the states. Unfortunately India has shown no respect forhe UNSC resolutions and rather has defied them at will.
The Modi government by scrapping Article 370 of the Indian Constitution has practically nullified the UNSC resolutions, which constitutes an affront to the conscience of the world community and a well calculated rebuke to the UN. But it is regrettable that the Secretary General, in spite of acknowledging the imperative of resolving disputes through adherence to the UN charter and UNSC resolutions, is only talking about making available his good offices for mediation provided both sides asked him to do so. The UNSC has already decided on how Kashmir dispute is to be resolved. In the face of the Indian defiance, it needs to take appropriate actions under the provisions of the UN Charter. Mere expression of concern on the human rights situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir and calling upon India to ease the situation is not going to end the dispute. There is a need to remove the root-cause for the human rights abuses in Indian-Occupied Kashmir.
The secretary general also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and termed the Kartarpur Corridor initiative as a symbol of interfaith harmony. He said that one of his main purposes in visiting the country was to spotlight the real Pakistan with all its possibilities and potentials. That is a very encouraging narrative by the secretary general and the Pakistani nation is thankful to him for acknowledging the contribution made by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and her role in the peace missions. But he needs to be reminded that his real role is to ensure settlement of the Kashmir conundrum in consonance with UNSC resolutions
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was right on the money while urging the UN Secretary General to ensure that the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir were binding to allow people of Kashmir to exercise their right of self-determination. He justifiably said, “We support multilateralism instead of unilateralism. We saw one example of unilateralism on August 5 last year. We have expectation from the Secretary General as he is the custodian of UN Charter, and for this responsibility we have some expectation from him”.
It is noteworthy that while the UN Secretary General was expounding his view of the situation, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a public rally in Varanasi, Uttar Pardesh, where he ruled out revisiting the decisions on the Citizenship Amendment Act and Article 370, asserting that his government remained and would remain firm on those steps taken in the national interest, despite international pressure. What Modi is telling the world is that he does not care about UNSC resolutions and their concern and pressure with regard to the decisions made by his government. Under the circumstances how can the UN Secretary General expect India to even agree to his non-starting offer of mediation? The Secretary General needs to understand that mere rhetoric and sermons are not going to end the sufferings of the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir who have been under siege for well over 200 days now. Their plight and miseries have been extensively reported by the international media as well as in the reports of the UN Human Rights Council. What else is required to nudge the UN to get its act together and fulfill its obligations towards the people of Kashmir?
The Indian refusal to honour the UNSC resolutions and its changing the special status of Indian-Occupied Kashmir have endangered peace and security in the region. The two nuclear powers stand face to face with each other. Any miscalculation on either side could lead to disastrous consequences for the region and beyond. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly warned the world community about the dangers lurking on the horizon and sought intervention by the UN and the world community before the proponents of the hate philosophy push the world towards yet another catastrophe, as was done by the similar creed of Hitler.
The Indian rulers also need to understand that they were also jeopardizing Indian security and economic well-being through the decisions made by them. The issue of Kashmir is not to be decided by the people of India or the government of India in their national interest, as observed by Modi. The dispute is about the exercise of the right of self-determination by the people of Kashmir, and only they can decide about their future. India has given a commitment to them, the UN and the world community in that regard. Their freedom movement cannot be subdued by the barrel of the gun, as is corroborated by the history of the world. The continuation of the killing spree in Indian-Occupied Kashmir by the Indian security forces, the blatant violation of human rights and the hostile posture against Pakistan exhibited through continuous violations of the Line of Control and the threats hurled by the Indian Army Chief are exacerbating the situation with every passing day. The UN must intervene before it is too late.
The Secretary General in his press conference also appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and termed the Kartarpur corridor initiative as a symbol of interfaith harmony. He said that one of his main purposes in visiting the country was to spotlight the real Pakistan with all its possibilities and potentials. That is a very encouraging narrative by the Secretary General and the Pakistani nation is thankful to him for acknowledging the contribution made by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and her role in the peace missions. But he needs to be reminded that his real role is to ensure settlement of the Kashmir conundrum in consonance with UNSC resolutions.