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J&K Is An Indian State: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

 

GENEVA: Perhaps revealing his inner conscience, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday admitted that Jammu and Kashmir is an “Indian State”.

“India has given an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy (in Jammu and Kashmir). If the life has returned to normalcy, then I say why don’t they allow you, international media, why don’t they allow international organizations, the NGOs, civil society organizations to go into the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is,” he told media persons here after addressing the UNHRC on J&K on Tuesday.

Earlier, Pakistan had raked up the Jammu and Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), talking about the restrictions imposed and detention of political leaders among other things.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while levelling allegations and making unsubstantiated claims about the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, said it had been converted into the “largest prison” with people being denied access to basic amenities.

He spoke about detention of political leaders of all hues in Kashmir and said the people have been “caged” there over the past six weeks.

A frustrated Pakistan on Tuesday also attacked the UN and “powerful” countries for their refusal to intervene on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the context of abolition of its special status, saying they have turned “deaf and dumb”.

In a 115-page ‘dossier’ submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Pakistan also said that India has rendered separatist organization Hurriyat Conference, a proxy of Islamabad in Kashmir, as “totally irrelevant” so as to sideline it permanently.

Referring to the scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and its bifurcation, Pakistan said it constituted “material change in the situation” in Kashmir.

“Pakistan does not view it as an internal matter of India,” the document said.

“Ironically, international community, UN and powerful states have forgotten the golden document of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and have turned deaf and dumb towards severe human rights issues” in Jammu and Kashmir, the dossier says.

Pakistan’s attack on the UN and “powerful” reflects its frustration as it has faced rebuff from most of the countries to its attempts to rope in third-party intervention to make India revoke its decision of August 7.

It virtually pleaded with countries like the US and Russia and tried to get support from the Gulf nations by using the Muslim card, but without any success.

Pakistan has even tried to blackmail the world community with threats of war with India and by saying that it would not be able to help in international war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

However, all nations maintained that they would not like to get involved, with most saying that it is India’s internal matter and some others saying that any issue over Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan.

The biggest shocker for Pakistan was the attitude of the Gulf countries and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), which have not fallen for Pakistan’s bait.

To add insult to Pakistan’s injury, United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major Islamic nation, instead of being critical of India, honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with ‘Order of Zayed’, the highest civil decoration of the country about two weeks back. Similarly, Bahrain also honoured Modi with its highest civilian award.

US President Donald Trump, who has spoken to Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over phone, has been shifting his position between offer of mediation “if both countries wanted” and asking Pakistan to reduce tensions. But India has asserted that no other country can have any say as affairs related to Jammu and Kashmir are the country’s internal matter.

In fact, Modi told Trump during their meeting late last month that issues related to Jammu and Kashmir were India’s internal matter and no other country needed to take the “trouble” of getting involved. Subsequently, Trump stuck to the position that India and Pakistan should resolve it bilaterally.

Pakistan’s “all-weather friend” China, while holding that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, placated Islamabad by getting the UN Security Council last month to hold “informal” discussions on the developments in the state.

But Pakistan’s effort, through China, to make UNSC issue some statement against India, failed miserably. Among the five Permanent members of the UNSC, the US, Russia, France and UK maintained, individually, that the matter should be discussed bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

Amidst desperation, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi even said that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir would be raised at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, according to reports in the Pakistani media, there were not many takers in the Pakistan government for this move as the learned people opined that the world court has no jurisdiction in the matter.

Quoting international law expert Taimur Malik, a Pakistani media report said it would be difficult to put India in the dock due to various provisions of the international law as India reserves the right on bilateral issues at the ICJ.

New Delhi has maintained that since Jammu and Kashmir has legally acceded to the Union of India in 1947, all matters related to the State are internal.

On abolition of the special status granted to the State in 1950 under Article 370, the government holds that the provision of the Indian Constitution was meant to be temporary in nature and ending of its applicability amounted to no violation of any kind.

India, in fact, Shah Mehmood Qureshi gone a step ahead by saying that any talks with Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir would be related to the territories of the state under illegal occupation of Pakistan.

Those territories, including parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were annexed by Pakistan by sending its army and irregulars on October 22, 1947, in violation of the Standstill Agreement that Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of the State, had signed with both India and Pakistan.

Worried by the Pakistani action, Hari Singh appealed to India for help and in the process, the Instrument of Accession was signed on October 26, 1947, following which Indian troops landed in Srinagar and started pushing back the Pakistani aggressors.

The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru approached the UN against the Pakistani action. The UNSC passed a resolution, mandating a ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani armies. In the resolution, the world body enlisted certain steps, first of which was that Pakistan, the aggressor, must withdraw its troops and irregulars from all territories of Jammu and Kashmir. Thereafter, India would keep its minimum forces in the vacated state to allow a plebiscite under the supervision of the UN.

The UNSC Resolution No.47, adopted on April 21, 1948, read: “The Government of Pakistan should undertake to use its best endeavours: (a) To secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting, and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the State.”

The resolution also said: “The Government of India should: (a) When it is established to the satisfaction of the Commission set up in accordance with the Council’s resolution 39 (1948) that the (Pakistani) tribesmen are withdrawing and that arrangements for the cessation of the fighting have become effective, put into operation in consultation with the Commission a plan for withdrawing their own forces from Jammu and Kashmir and reducing them progressively to the minimum strength required for the support of the civil power in the maintenance of law and order.”

Pakistan, however, defied the UNSC resolution as it never implemented the first step prescribed by the world body.
Since then, much water has flowed, with India and Pakistan signing a number of bilateral pacts and documents, like the Simla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore Declaration of 1999, which have superseded the UNSC resolutions. (IANS)

 

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