Syeda Zainab Hameed Gillani l
The UNSC held a consultative meeting on Friday to debate 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 often not only a violation of UN resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India, it is also against the commitments made within the Instrument of Accession India had signed with Maharaja of Kashmir. Before the move, New Delhi sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a curfew, banned public assembly, stop working phone lines and internet and arrested political leaders.
It is important to note that this was a session during which there is no formal declaration or statement. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the international organisation Dr Maleeha Lodhi has said that the UN council today discussed the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir thanks to the Indian move to vary the status of the Occupied Kashmir.
Talking to the media after the UNSC meeting, 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 so 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 could even 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 international organisation council.”
“Pakistan has, and always will, still 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 primary 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.
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 absolutely was an internal matter. Pakistan was misleading the world over the matter, 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 cabinet minister of J&K has announced that the union territories are moving towards normalcy.”
“Internal changes aren’t changing the external orientation. We are committed to any or all or any the agreement(s) we have signed on this issue,” the envoy added. “India remains committed to creating sure that matters in J&K remains calm and peaceful,” he said, and stressed that Kashmir dispute should be resolved bilaterally by Pakistan and India.
“These haven’t got any external ramifications, the recent decisions taken by the government. of India and our legislative bodies are intended to verify 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 therein the Kashmir issue which had been side lined for several years was again discussed within the UNSC after a spot of over 50 years. Zhang Jun, China’s UN ambassador, told reporters that council members had been “seriously concerned” by the Kashmir crisis which neither India nor Pakistan should provoke a situation that was “already very tense and very dangerous”. Those countries should “discard the sport mentality” to the region, he added.
Dmitry Polanski, Russia’s envoy to the UN, said Moscow was concerned by the crisis but added that it absolutely was a “bilateral issue” best tackled directly between New Delhi and Islamabad. He had also added that this might be done on the thought of Shimla Agreement of 1972 and so 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 remains a controversy on the world stage. India’s inability to stop the meeting supported its vaunted diplomatic clout was a gain for Pakistani diplomacy. The insistence of the UNSC members on UN Charter and resolutions show that the world doesn’t consider Kashmir as India’s integral part despite the recent unilateral actions.
This was cemented by the Indian envoy’s statement “Internal changes aren’t changing the external orientation. We are committed to any or all or any the agreement(s) we have signed on this issue, toconclude” This statement may well be a transparent 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 matter and this was as pore its envoy, only the first step.
Syeda Zainab Hameed Gillani is pursuing career in law and has deep interest in international law and contemporary affairs.