January 5, 2022, marks the 73rd anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Resolution adopted at the meeting of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan. The latter Resolution was adopted on January 5, 1949, and unequivocally called for the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 1 of the Resolution stated that “The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.”
Likewise, Article 2 said that “A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed.” In other words, the UN attested and granted the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right of self-determination. Historically, the latter has acted as the soul of democracy and remained instrumental in putting an end to autocracy and monarchy.
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How did it all begin?
Arguably, the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes was among the very first ones to envisage the right of self-determination when he argued that to rule the people is not the divine right of monarchs. His arguments were manifested in the American Revolution (1775-1783) and the French Revolution in 1789. Unfortunately, today in the modern world, the people of Jammu and Kashmir are denied their basic rights which were enshrined in the UN Charter.
It is indeed very important to look for the context and background of January 5, 1949, Resolution. Today, India keeps on arguing that the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and hence it can’t be brought to the international fora for its peaceful resolution. Historically speaking, it is a fact that Pakistan attested the latter in the Shimla Agreement of July 1972.
However, it is an undeniable fact that the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the one who brought the Kashmir Dispute to the floor of the UN in 1948. It is also a fact that the Indian leadership also promised to give the people of Jammu and Kashmir the inalienable right of self-determination. Unfortunately, today after 73 years, the Indian leadership is again acting in an arrogant manner and keeps on using brute and deadly force against the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
To honor the countless sacrifices made by the people of Kashmir, the India Study Centre (ISC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a roundtable entitled “Commemorating Kashmiris’ Right to Self-Determination Day” on January 5, 2022. The legal aspects of the Kashmir Issue were highlighted and given much importance. It was also argued that Pakistan holds the high ground in moral and legal terms; however, it was also stressed that Pakistan’s Foreign Office needs to consolidate its efforts.
Advocate Nasir Qadri from the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) who also heads the Legal Forum for the Oppressed Voice of Kashmir (LFOVK) expressed his views at the event and called for viewing the Kashmir Dispute from the lens of an armed conflict. Advocate Qadri also appealed to the Government of Pakistan to recognize the Kashmir Liberation Movement and for its diplomatic support. Likewise, the convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Mr. Syed Faiz Naqshbandiargued that despite India’s continued distortion of facts, the UN resolutions are still valid and alive; nonetheless, he lamented the inaction of the UN in implementing its resolutions.
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Factually arguing, much has been written and said about the Indian atrocities in IIOJK
However, organizing events, commemorating history, and chanting slogans are instruments of the weak and are likely to yield little or no results. Likewise, calling for an armed struggle could also result in undesired results. The only viable option is diplomacy. However, for how long will the people of Pakistan continue to witness the massacre of their brethren at the hands of India? For how long will Pakistan allow India to deny the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir? And most importantly, for how long Pakistan is willing to let India paint Pakistan as the aggressor and invader? These are the few questions which Pakistan needs to ponder upon.
The growing international struggle for power is becoming intense. And apparently, the regional, as well as international geopolitical environment, is not in Pakistan’s favor. Similarly, there are numerous internal problems that are squeezing Pakistan’s action space. Indeed, the situation is neither encouraging nor an ideal one. There is a dire need on the part of policymakers to pre-empt the emerging situation and plan on the relative power capabilities of Pakistan’s adversaries – not their intentions.
The author is a Research Associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Pakistan. He co-authored the book Realism and Exceptionalism in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Kissinger to Kerry (2020). He can be reached at email@example.com. The views in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.