Appraisal of UN address
09 October, 2015
By Malik Muhammad Ashraf
The address of Prime Minister to the UN General Assembly on 30th September, particularly the content pertaining to the regional issues is significant from a number of perspectives. For the first time a Pakistani Prime Minister so vehemently advocated Pakistan’s credentials as a front line state against terrorism and itself being a victim of the menace; sensitized the international community on Indian interference and sponsoring of terrorism in Pakistan, the evidence of which reportedly has been handed over to the UN Secretary General; enumerated efforts that his government has made for promoting dialogue between the two countries to resolve the disputes between the two nations; dilated on Indian cold response and spurning of the peace initiatives; re-affirmed Pakistan’s abiding resolve to live in peace with India; informed the world community about persistent violations of the LOC and Working boundary; presented Pakistan’s case in regards to the Kashmir issue so forcefully; defended consultations with Kashmiris whom he described as an integral part of the dispute; dared to castigate UN for its failure to have its resolutions on Kashmir implemented and more significantly gave a visionary formula to find a way forward in building bonhomie between the two countries.
All the foregoing issues taken up by the Prime Minister in his address are one way or the other connected to the core issue of Kashmir which has bedeviled relations between the two countries. As far as I can recall his discourse on Kashmir was the best ever effort to highlight the issue in its true perspective during the last more than three decades. His four point formula under the prevailing ambience of tensions between the two countries provides a reasonable basis for moving forward and establishing peace in the region.
The reiteration to formalize the 2003 ceasefire understanding (verbal) and monitoring of the observance of ceasefire by United Nation Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is the only feasible option to establish the truth regarding who is responsible for the ceasefire violations and making sure that the ceasefire holds. It is very much in line with the role assigned to UNMOGIP by the UN. The second point of the formula regarding renunciation of the use of threat and force against each other is a basic requirement for ensuring peace and very much in conformity with the objectives and Charter of UN. The third suggestion with respect to demilitarization of Kashmir is again what has been demanded in the UN resolutions as a pre-requisite for facilitating plebiscite in Kashmir. It would be pertinent to mention that the head of UNICEP, Sir Owen Dixon(an Australian Jurist) who was assigned the task of ensuring demilitarization of Kashmir and creating congenial atmosphere for holding plebiscite resigned as a protest against Indian reluctance to cooperate. The fourth proposal suggesting unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier though outside the pale of UN resolutions is very much connected to the elements vitally essential to reducing Indo-Pak tensions.
The formula which in the ultimate analysis is a plausible recipe for promoting peace and security in the region as well as at the global level, is a visionary formulation with regard to regional connectivity which is an imperative demand of the emerging geo-political and geo-economic realities for a shared regional prosperity, loaded with innumerable economic benefits for India, Pakistan and other countries of the region.
Regrettably, India has rejected the peace formula, as expected. The Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj speaking in the UN General Assembly said “we do not need four points, we need just one—-give up terrorism, let us sit down and talk” She as usual blamed Pakistan for breeding and sponsoring terrorists and asserted it that was actually Pakistan which was violating the ceasefire to provide cover to the terrorists crossing the border. The point to be made in this regard is that if India felt so sure and wanted the world to believe its view point on ceasefire violations along the LOC and working boundary, then why it was averse to the idea of monitoring of the ceasefire by UNMOGIP mandated to do so by the UN? It is only the UNMOGIP which can put an end to the mutual blame-game. And what about the Indian sponsored terrorism in Pakistan on which a dossier has been presented to the UN? What about the proven nexus between RAW and Afghan intelligence agency NDS for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan through TTP, confessed before the NATO-Isaf forces by Deputy Chief of TTP Latifullah Mehsud who was captured by them in Afghanistan?
Her assertion with reference to the observation of Nawaz Sharif regarding occupation of Jammu and Kashmir that it was Pakistan, which had occupied the territory, is the most blatant travesty of truth. She further elaborated that India’s opposition to CPEC was due to the fact that it passed through Indian Territory occupied by Pakistan. Her rhetoric ostensibly stemmed from Indian claims of Kashmir being integral part of India based on the premise that the question of accession of Kashmir has already been settled by the constituent assembly of Kashmir; a measure which was unequivocally repudiated by the UN through its resolution number 91 and 122 saying that the question of accession of Kashmir could not be settled except through a plebiscite held under the auspices of UN. The very fact that the Indian foreign minister had the audacity to make this false and hollow claim at the forum of UN General Assembly, is an affront to the World body whose 23 resolutions on the subject are still obligatory on the parties concerned as well as the UN itself.
The Indian stance clearly indicates that the Modi government is not interested in peace in the region and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Instead it is hell bent on rubbing in the notion of Pakistan sponsoring terrorism as a state policy. Under the circumstances, notwithstanding our innate desire and commitment for normalizing relations with neighbours, especially India, Pakistan must upstage India on this subject by launching a diplomatic offensive on the global level to unravel the Indian interference in Pakistan and facilitation of acts of terrorism through proxies to destabilize the country. The evidence provided to UN must also be shared with other countries of the world, sustained efforts made to garner support on the Kashmir issue in the world capitals and probably also broaching the possibility of formally re-raising the issue at the UN Security Council in view of the threat to the regional peace posed by Indian bellicose posturing towards Pakistan.