Once again, the Kashmir Dispute will resound on the floor of the United Nations in the upcoming session of the General Assembly. The Dispute first dominated the Security Council floor after India knocked its doors on 1 January 1948 seeking legitimacy for the 'Instrument of Accession'. It also pleaded for declaring Pakistan as an "aggressor". The complaint did cause marathon discussions on Kashmir. Nevertheless, contrary to its expectations India lost the debate. The Indian delegation on both the counts failed in its bid. Instead, the United Nations adopted one after another resolution calling for holding of a plebiscite under its supervision for deciding the future of the State.
The crushing defeat on the floor of the Security Council to quote historian Ramachandra Guha, "shocked" Nehru and he "regretted going to the United Nations." He expressed his anguish to Mountbatten about the world powers 'siding with Pakistan'. There after India never ever raised Kashmir in the United Nations, instead, endeavoured hard to wriggle out of the United Nations by procrastinating implementation of the UN resolutions. Thereafter, it was always Pakistan that with the support of friendly countries raised the Kashmir question in the Security Council. Moreover, pleaded and persuaded the body for passing more resolution including the 1957 resolution that delegitimized any action of the State Constituent Assembly regarding the accession of the state with Union of India.
Kashmir, after wars between the two countries or increasing confrontation along the Ceasefire Line/ LOC has also been part of the UN deliberations. The United Nations and international community recognizing Kashmir as a nuclear flashpoint in South Asia. I wrote in my previous column that it was for this reason that in 1998, after India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests the United Nations unanimously passed resolution No 1172 calling upon the two countries to resolve the Kashmir Dispute. However, it will be for the first time that Kashmir will be part of deliberations of the United Nations General Council because of the ongoing 'Intifada-' of 2016. That New York Times in a front page lead story of 29 August said "will almost certainly be remembered as the year of dead eyes". Equally a year of new energy and resolve where those who have lost the vision to the pellets do not mourn it to quote Ellen Barry of NYT, "It is difficult to find a patient here who admits to mourning the loss of his eye. They say it is an acceptable price to pay for azadi, or freedom from Indian rule. Quite a few offer to sacrifice their second eye for the cause." During past seventy two days more than six hundred have been "pelleted to blindness" and over fifteen thousand toddlers and teenagers wounded with bullets and pellets and eighty five killed.
There have been many an occasion when Pakistan Prime Ministers or envoys have mentioned Kashmir in their address in the General Assembly and Indian leaders have protested against it. Mostly the Prime Ministers or Presidents of Pakistan read out in the assembly texts prepared by the Foreign office of their country. Nonetheless, it was for the first time when Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif had consultations with Kashmir leaders. He arrived in Muzaffarabad for two hours, a day before his departure to New York 'to get feedback and suggestion from Kashmiri leadership vis-à-vis Pakistan's role to effectively highlight the alarming human rights situation in Kashmir and garner maximum international support for early resolution dispute.' The most significant point in his interaction with the leaders in Muzaffarabad was asking the Hurriyat representatives to pass on his message to the Srinagar leadership, that 'Pakistan will play proactive role in Kashmir.' He did not spell out what kind of 'proactive role' Islamabad was going to play. Ostensibly, it seems that Islamabad is going to intensify diplomatic efforts on Kashmir at the international level. It has already deputed a team of members of the parliament to various counties but selection of these members for lack of their thorough understanding of the Kashmir Dispute has been widely criticized. It needs to be seen if Islamabad instead of novice members of parliament sends some robust former diplomats as its envoys to some important countries for drawing their attention on the situation in Kashmir.
If one goes by discussions on the corporate satellite television channels of former diplomats and 'strategists' working with various 'thinks tanks' it seems New Delhi is gearing up to blunt Islamabad raising the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir by juxtaposing them to the human rights violations in Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad. In view of the stand taken by the UN Human Rights Commission at 33rd session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Kashmir New Delhi seems to be on a slippery slope on this count. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday asked India and Pakistan to allow teams from the commission to visit both the sides of the LOC to assess the human rights situation in view of the reports of 'excessive' force used against civilian on India side'. New Delhi showed curt response as against Islamabad responded positively promising 'a free and complete access' in areas on other side of the LOC for objective assessment of the situation on both the sides.
It seems with both the countries having gird the lions for the upcoming session the oldest Dispute on its agenda will dominate the upcoming General Assembly session. It would be just a surmise at this time, if the debate in the General Assembly graduates to the next stage and brings yet another resolution on Kashmir from the United Nations. With fingers crossed let me conclude this column with a quote from Lamb: 'The Tragedy of Kashmir, in all its ramifications and consequences must stop. No person with modicum of concern for human rights can contest this proposition. What is disputed, of course, is how horror can end. That any realistic settlement of Kashmir Dispute must take into account how the dispute started, in fact rather than in myth.'