For the sake of argument

Whose ought to be the ‘first move’, if UN were to act: Pakistan or India?

One of the most common questions, which Indians pose to us is that why would anyone want India to withdraw its forces first, when the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Kashmir clearly asks Pakistan to withdraw all its forces from erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir and then asks India to do the same while allowing it to maintain minimum number of troops, during Plebiscite? Maroof  Raza, who is said to be some defense analyst,  has been posing the same question to Kashmiri leadership, repeatedly, on the Times Now channel, ever since, but has never got an answer. It’s a good question, which needs an academic answer.

Apart from the human rights violations in Indian Kashmir, which is incomparable to the other part of Kashmir, let’s deal with it, in the same context in which it is being asked. The argument is that, as per the said resolutions, Pakistan needs to be the first mover, which is right. That is exactly what the UN resolutions enshrine. However, there is a gross lack of knowledge, in the common masses, including this so-called analyst’, about the context revolving it. Having read closely, the United Nations Kashmir documents, I can tell you with authority where exactly such unprofessional or part-time diplomats falter. As Indian commentators themselves say that these resolutions do not fall under the category of ‘Enforceability’, it thus requires a formal cooperation of both the countries as to when to start the implementation of these resolutions.  Had they been enforceable or a binding, UN could have militarily pressurized either or both the countries, which is not the case.  I find it pertinent to mention here that there were preparatory talks about it at the UN, in years 1948, 49 and 50. Even Sheikh Abdullah reports firsthand account in his autobiography ‘The Blazing Fire’ that many times they were very close to an agreement but ‘stupid contentions’ prevailed. As per him, at one instance, Pakistan said after they withdraw 100%, India, which had to keep minimum number of troops for law & order, should not exceed 22,000, during the Plebiscite, while India didn’t budge and remained adamant on 27,000 troops. Thereafter, both new nations got busy in their own internal complexities for some time. In the interim, India under Nehru sensed that with Sheikh Abdullah as his close admirer, his plans changed & he thought he can avoid UN and Pakistan. Otherwise, we all know it was Nehru who took Kashmir to the UN. When Pakistan came back to the UN about it, confident Nehru’s India was altogether a different ball game to play with. First, India dilly-dallied the plebiscite question, which later transformed into a complete denial. UN could do nothing as it was not a binding but of course a moral binding, since Pakistan and India had signed an international document with the ratification of many other nations, including the US, UK, Belgium et al.

These are the international matters. Please think about it – India’s official claim, as per its 1994 parliament resolution is that ‘’the entire state of J&K is its integral part including the Pakistani Kashmir, which remains to be taken’’. In this situation, if Pakistan unilaterally backs off, which is what people like Raza ask for, India (even if it doesn’t actually want it) will have no option, but to honor its resolution with almost full majority in Parliament and control ‘AJK’ as well, or else it will go against its own constitution. UN has been offering its good offices time and again. Until India does not agree to whole idea of the conduct of the referendum in J&K, UN can do nothing nor can Pakistan. So, the question of withdrawal of Pakistan comes much later in the ‘Implementation phase’. Therefore, the first pre requisite is the joint agreement, followed by a joint request to the UN, by both the countries, to come and implement the ‘agreed upon’ resolutions, whose opposition, by the way, India has made its law and part of constitution in 1994. This is where the bottleneck lies. Once they approach the UN and “implementation phase’’ begins, Pakistan has to withdraw first and if it denies to comply with what it has already signed and has been harping on, it will be exposed and Kashmiris will have to start opposing Pakistan instead of India, then.

Dear able minds, we all know how India brought UNMOGIP office in Delhi on road, about a year ago, and asked it to pay rent and hire some other building as it is irrelevant for India now. This is International politics where morality doesn’t matter. As per my study, India is fully aware it will lose if it honors its commitment and since, it has the military strength to safeguard what it now considers its territory, why would it budge even an inch? Pakistan also honors UN resolutions so much because it knows Kashmir’s detachment from India is in its national interest as apart from the important territory loss to India, its water source could be out of India’s control. Lastly, since these resolutions are not enforceable and UNO is ready to offer its good offices, if solicited by both these countries, a third option could easily be added. It’s only up to Pakistan and India to decide any changes; the UN just has to provide its supervision. Give me India’s consent today, I being an ordinary person, promise you a referendum in Kashmir with all the three options, swiftly. Pakistan does not just agree but it has as usual again appealed to the UN this week, for the implementation. The irony is that only doctors discuss medicine, economists know and talk its jargon but when it comes to politics, especially the International one, everybody tries their hands on it, enhancing dissemination of myths and confusions which steel statesmen in both the countries, who would have otherwise wanted to do something, of their political capital.

So dear Maroof, if it were the way you thought it to be, then India’s official stance on Kashmir, would have been exactly what yours is i.e., let Pakistan withdraw first. I believe you would be in know of what not only is the Indian stance but the part of its constitution now—“The state of J&K is an inalienable and integral part of the Union of India including the P.o.K.’’ Since it is not, it may help you to understand my argument in a lucid way. I agree with your statement 100%. My only contention is that let the Indian PMO say exactly what you are saying. Then the ball will be in Pakistan’s court. Till then, you cannot use this argument. I hope the point is clear to you and all others like you.

(Mehboob Makhdoomi is a Harvardian & an MBA from Pennsylvania University (IUP) United States with a Research degree from Cardiff University, United Kingdom. Email )