- The 15 members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) engaged in closed-door informal consultations in response to a letter written by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the President of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), backed by a request from China, on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Outcome of the meeting
- There is no official record of the proceedings nor does the informal exchange result in any outcome document.
- In this case, the only consensus that had the backing of the majority of members was that India and Pakistan should resolve matters bilaterally.
- China’s attempts to get the president of the UNSC to issue an informal statement to the media, was curiously backed by the UK, perhaps in the hope of scoring some brownie points with the large domestic constituencies of Pakistanis.
- The UK might also have hoped to curry some favor with China to further its mercantilist interests in the face of an imminent Brexit meltdown.
Human right violations in Pakistan
- Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi made a dishonest and propagandist statement to the media making allegations against India, claiming that “the voice of the people of Kashmir was being heard in the UNSC”.
- But, Islamabad’s own track road in Baluchistan and the fact that it sponsors terrorism in Afghanistan and India is not a secret.
- Pakistan has a long-held policy to create unrest and tensions in neighbouring countries especially in India and Afghanistan by backing jihadist groups.
Pakistan meanwhile should first permit the voice of the Baloch people to be heard, along with that of the oppressed in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Why this has become a major concern for Pakistan?
- The Indian government’s bold step to revoke the special status of J&K, long overdue, has given Pakistan and its cohorts in J&K a big jolt. It has hurt vested interests in the Valley who, for generations, have siphoned off the wealth of the state and waltzed with separatists at the same time.
India’s reaffirmation on resolving border dispute with China
- Earlier, the external affairs minister, S Jaishankar, had clearly conveyed, during his visit to Beijing, that the decisions were internal to India and aimed at providing good governance, promoting social justice and ensuring economic development in J&K.
- He had also pointed out to the Chinese that the constitutional change in India had no bearing on the boundary issue or the Line of Actual Control with China.
China’s deviation tactics
- China is facing global censure for its unbridled human rights violations in Xinjiang province, the mass incarceration of Uighurs in so-called re-education camps and the razing of mosques and other historical places that give the Uighurs their distinct identity.
- The daily images on television screens around the world of the mass unrest in Hong Kong must be galling for a regime that takes pride in its ability to use force to quash dissent and seeks, with vaulting ambition, to emerge as the number one power in the world.
- The long-drawn public protests in Hong Kong are a reaction to the progressive erosion of the special status accorded to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the terms of its Basic Law, which protects Hong Kong’s capitalist system, the independence of the judiciary and the media.
- Apart from its undying commitment to Pakistan, it is to deflect scrutiny of its own actions in Xinjiang and Hong Kong that China would have decided to support Pakistan’s request and also to have its permanent representative masquerade as a spokesman for members of the UNSC.
What China needs to note is, Unlike China’s opaque political functioning and decision-making processes, national media control, suppression of dissent and draconian internal security laws, the change in J&K’s constitutional status was done through an open political process — a publicly aired parliamentary debate and voting.
China’s silence when Pakistan made changes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir
China has never commented when Pakistan unilaterally changed the status of regions in PoK exposes its deep bias.
- Gilgit-Baltistan was re-designated by Pakistan as Northern Areas in 1970.
- In 1974, Pakistan unilaterally overturned a law of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir prohibiting outsiders from owning property, and encouraged large-scale settlement by Sunnis in predominantly Shia-populated Gilgit-Baltistan
- Pakistan once again unilaterally issued the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in 2009, without any consultation with the people, with a view to giving itself and China a freer hand to develop Chinese link through PoJ&K to Gwadar.
Besides allowing the presence of China’s military and civilian personnel close to India’s border.
On changes in Tibet
- One should recall that in 1965, when China reorganised the erstwhile Tibet region into the Tibet Autonomous Region, giving it a provincial status, India was not apoplectic, like China has been following the designation of Ladakh as a union territory.
- Based on the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, India has always refrained from making statements concerning the internal situation of China.
Options with India to weaken china’s call
- India has multiple choices — reiterating India’s claim over Aksai Chin as an unsettled territorial issue on the agenda of the special representatives,
- eliminating Huawei from 5G trials,
- placing curbs on China’s economic inroads into India in sensitive sectors,
- making a statement on developments in Hong Kong because of our concerns on the security of our community there,
- Inviting a Taiwan minister to India officially and giving the Dalai Lama a major platform to speak in Delhi, with an Indian minster in the audience
How has UNSC looked at the Kashmir issue in the past?
- First, the UNSC does not have any agenda item explicitly termed “Jammu and Kashmir”. The only agenda item on its mandate is “The India Pakistan Question”.
- Second, UNSC Resolutions 209, 210, 211, 214 and 215 of September 1965 focussed on a ceasefire during the war and demanded that the two sides cooperate with UNMOGIP.
- Third, the last formal resolution under the agenda item titled “The India Pakistan Question”, was UNSC Resolution 307 of 21 December 1971, which noted India’s unilateral declaration of a ceasefire in the western theatre during that war, Pakistan’s acceptance of it, and, demanded a durable cessation of all hostilities.
Pakistan’s continued insistence of Kashmir issue in UN
- Pakistan’s communications to UN bodies of matters relating to J&K are not a new development. Every year, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in New York writes to the secretary general requesting that the agenda item “The India Pakistan Question” be retained
- With the exception of Pakistan and a few of its supporters, the global community endorses the bilateral framework for resolution of differences between India and Pakistan.
- Pakistan will no doubt try to rake up the issue at the October meeting of the Human Rights Committee at the UNHRC, hoping to capitalise on the insidious report prepared in 2018 by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a Pakistan sympathiser.
- The global community will no doubt take positive note of the steps being taken by India to restore normalcy in J&K through restoration of landlines, phased lifting of restrictions and the re-opening of government offices and schools.
- And, as Pakistan remains mired in its medieval ways, the world will soon see visible evidence of rapid development in J&K, which will contrast sharply with the backwardness of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.