India is jubilant today for being successful in having the Kashmir dispute removed from the list of world disputes on the UN agenda. It has always been on UN agenda as a disputed territory and was declared so on the request of India when Pakistani mujahideen had freed a part of the valley from Indian occupation. It was then resolved by the UN that Pakistan will vacate the area and India will hold a plebiscite in the valley. Today, the tables have been turned on Pakistan and the issue has been reduced to just a K-word.
The official news agency, APP has reported that Pakistan objected to the exclusion of Kashmir from a list of disputes under the observation of the Security Council as mentioned by the UK’s top diplomat in an annual debate on UNSC reforms. Speaking at a UN General Assembly session discussing the functioning and reform of the Security Council, Pakistan’s acting envoy to UN said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was not mentioned in the context of unresolved long-running situations. He hoped this was an inadvertent omission, saying, “we understand this was an inadvertent omission, as Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the Security Council.”
Speaking earlier at the General Assembly, the UK envoy to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, said that “some long-running situations, including in the Middle East, Cyprus and Western Sahara remain unresolved, as do issues where the Council has become engaged in recent years, including Nepal and Guinea Bissau. Huge challenges remain in Sudan, Somalia and the DRC,” he added.
The session was organized by the United Kingdom as it holds the presidency of the Security Council this month. Pakistan has been asking the UN to intervene to help resolve the issue but India has always maintained that it has to be resolved bilaterally between the two countries and without mediation of third party.
Brief history of the Kashmir dispute is as follows: On 1 January 1948, India formally referred the case of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter. This move was directed towards protecting India’s territorial integrity. Initially, Pakistan denied that its troops were present on the soil of Kashmir but when a 3-member UN delegation (subsequent to the UN Security Council resolution dated 20 January 1948) visited the actual scene of fighting, the Pakistan government admitted the presence of its troops.
Consequently, the UN included the Kashmir issue on its agenda. On 5 February 1948, the UN resolution inter alia called for an immediate ceasefire and a plebiscite to decide the future of the state. By 21 April 1948, the UN among other issues, increased the number of members of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) from 3 to 5 and recommended to the governments of India and Pakistan inter alia for (1) the withdrawal of all tribesmen and Pakistanis, (2) the reduction of force levels by India on restoration of normalcy, (3) the appointment of a plebiscite administration by India and (4) the appointment of a plebiscite administrator by the UN Secretary General.
On 13 August 1948, the UN adopted another resolution inter alia calling for (1) a ceasefire, (2) Pakistan to withdraw the tribals and to put its troops under the command of local civilian authorities, (3) India to withdraw bulk of its troops, (4) the UN observers to supervise the ceasefire and (5) the holding of the plebiscite. The resolution was followed up on 11 December 1948 with the appointment of a plebiscite administrator. On 5 January 1949, the two earlier resolutions were amalgamated into a single resolution that reiterated the earlier proposals.