Monday, June 1, 2020

Article 370: Rattled Pakistan Seeks World Support, Faces Rebuff

Darpan News Desk IANS, 23 Aug, 2019

    Scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state has badly rattled Pakistan, which is desperately trying to internationalise the matter and somehow rope in third party mediation but without any success.

    Ever since the Modi government's move to end applicability of Article 370 was implemented on August 7, Pakistan has downgraded its diplomatic ties with India and its leaders, including its Prime Minister Imran Khan, have been calling up their counterparts in several countries with a plea that they should push India to revoke the decision.

    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 the foreign countries have virtually rebuffed the Pakistani leaders by refusing to get involved. While some maintained that it is India's internal matter, a few others said Pakistan and India should have bilateral talk on it.

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

    To add salt to Pakistan's wounds, United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major Islamic nation, is set to present ‘Order of Zayed', the highest civil decoration of the country to Modi for giving a boost to ties between the two countries.

    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 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 as it was not done. 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.

    US President Donald Trump, who has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 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.

    On Tuesday, Trump said the Kashmir issue has been "going on for a long period of time" and "there is tremendous problem between those two countries (India and Pakistan) and I will do the best I can to mediate or do something."

    He said he gets along "really well with both" Modi and Khan and "I think we are helping in the situation."

    Amidst desperation, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has even said that the Kashmir issue would be raised at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, according to reports in the Pakistani media, there are not many takers in the Pakistani government for this move as the learned people have 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, has 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.

    In its desperation, Pakistan is trying hard to bring the issue back on the UN table, but it is unlikely to succeed as it hardly has any international support, mainly for being discredited because of sponsoring terrorism.

    India, on its part, is determined to fight Pakistan tooth and nail and isolate it further in the comity of nations.


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