TIC Focus |

The UN Security Council held a consultative meeting on Friday to discuss the Kashmir issue where Pakistan urged the world body to implement its own resolutions on this 70-year-old dispute.It being a closed-door session, no formal statement was issued after the meeting. However, Pakistani, Chinese, and Indian representatives talked to the media and presented their own opinions.

Pakistani envoy called the session an open rejection of the India’s claim of Kashmir being an internal matter.The Chinese envoy supported Pakistan stance and expressed concern over “dangerous and serious” situation in Kashmir. The India rep, on the other hand, accused Pakistan of “misleading” the world. He claimed that the scrapping of Occupied Kashmir’s autonomous status had no external ramifications.

Riding the Hindutva wave, the BJP government in India abrogated Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gave special status to Occupied Kashmir (OK). This is not only a violation of UN resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India, it is also against the commitments made in the Instrument of Accession India had signed with Maharaja of Kashmir. Before the move, New Delhi sent thousands of extra troops to the disputed region, imposed a curfew, banned public assembly, shut down phone lines and internet and arrested political leaders.

Pakistani Viewpoint

It is important to note that this was a closed session in which there is no formal declaration or statement. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi has said that the UN Security Council today discussed the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir due to the Indian move to change the status of the Occupied Kashmir.

Talking to the media after the UNSC meeting in New York, she said all the fifteen permanent and non-permanent member countries attended the consultative session. The member countries were briefed on the latest developments and the dismal human rights situation in occupied Kashmir. Maleeha Lodhi said today’s UNSC meeting has nullified Indian claims that Kashmir is their internal matter.

Dr Lodhi shared that the Chinese ambassador at the meeting “emphasised on Human Rights situation (in the occupied valley).” The envoy also said, “The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up and their voices not heard in their own homes and their own land, but their voices were heard today at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council.”

“Pakistan has, and always will, continue to highlight the gross human rights violations against the Muslims of Kashmir who are seeking their right to self-determination,” she said. “This (session) is not the first and last step,” the envoy added. Maleeha Lodhi said that India had made desperate attempts to thwart the meeting but the member states had ignored its pleas.

Indian Viewpoint

India’s permanent representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin also spoke to the media after the Chinese diplomat. He defended Modi government’s decision to scrap provisions of Article 370, saying it was an internal matter. Pakistan was misleading the world over the issue, he alleged.

The India envoy claimed that amendment to Article 370 had “no external ramifications”. He said, “Our national position was and remains that matter related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is entirely an internal matter of India.”

Akbaruddin said, “The chief secretary of J&K has announced that the union territories are moving towards normalcy.”

“Internal changes are not changing the external orientation. We are committed to all the agreement(s) we have signed on this issue,” the envoy added. “India remains committed to ensuring that the situation in J&K remains calm and peaceful,” he said, and stressed that Kashmir dispute should be resolved bilaterally by Pakistan and India.

“These have no external ramifications, the recent decisions taken by the Govt of India and our legislative bodies are intended to ensure that good governance is promoted, social-economic development is enhanced for our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.

A Diplomatic victory

The UNSC meeting was a diplomatic victory in itself in that the Kashmir issue which had been sidelined for decades was again discussed in the UNSC after a gap of more than 50 years. Zhang Jun, China’s UN ambassador, told reporters that council members had been “seriously concerned” by the Kashmir crisis and that neither India nor Pakistan should provoke a situation that was “already very tense and very dangerous”. Those countries should “discard the zero-sum game mentality” to the region, he added.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s envoy to the UN, said Moscow was concerned by the crisis but added that it was a “bilateral issue” best tackled directly between New Delhi and Islamabad. He had also added that this should be done on the basis of Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore declaration of 1999, in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan.

The UNSC meeting is itself a victory that shows that Kashmir is still an issue on the world stage. India’s inability to stop the meeting based on its vaunted diplomatic clout was a gain for Pakistai diplomacy. The insistence of the UNSC members on UN Charter and rsolutions show thta the world does not consider KAshmir as India’s integral part despite the recent unilateral actions.

This was cemented by the Indian envoy’s statement “Internal changes are not changing the external orientation. We are committed to all the agreement(s) we have signed on this issue,””This statement is a clear indicator that India has been unable to present KAshmir as its integral territory which was its objective through the revocation of article 370. Pakistan has managed to internationalise the issue and this was as poer its envoy, only the first step.

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