While flaunting it as a solemn occasion called ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, Islamabad organises a comical extravaganza of sorts with emotional [as well as menacing] speeches and contrived protests [which includes the indispensable burning of the Indian national flag] on February 5 every year. However, despite all the “sound and fury” it contains, this three-decade old annual ritual has failed to evoke any meaningful international response whatsoever, and the reason for the same isn’t very hard to find.
Islamabad’s Incredulous Stand on Kashmir
Pakistan takes a lot of pains to keep reminding the world that its Kashmir narrative is “principled” as “it is completely in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions on this issue.” This raises the obvious question- why is no one endorsing Islamabad’s so-called “principled” stand on Kashmir? To determine whether Pakistan’s allegation of global apathy towards Kashmir is true, it’s necessary to examine what is actually stated in UNSC Resolution 47, which Islamabad keeps invoking at the mere drop of the hat!
Even a cursory perusal of this UNSC resolution will reveal that Islamabad’s so-called “principled” stand on Kashmir is a humongous sham and a pathetic case of ‘cherry-picking’. What’s even more astonishing is that despite being nothing but an attempt to conceal its own failure in fulfilling the mandatory prerequisites necessary to implement UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, Islamabad still feels that the world will swallow the brazen lies it’s peddling.“ Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth” – this is supposed to be a Joseph Goebbles Nazi propaganda technique which Pakistan seems to believe in.
While UNSC Resolution 47 does mention plebiscite in J&K, this exercise can only be undertaken after Pakistan complies with two critical directives laid down by UNSC. One, it needs to withdraw all Pakistani nationals from Pakistan occupied Kashmir [PoK], and two, it needs to “provide full freedom to all subjects of the State, regardless of creed, caste, or party, to express their views and to vote on the question of the accession of the State, and that therefore they should co-operate in the maintenance of peace and order.” [Emphasis added].
Ironically, while it keeps complaining about New Delhi’s refusal to implement UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, Islamabad itself is guilty of failing to facilitate the plebiscite process by fulfilling the UNSC directions ibid. While PoK remains under the iron fist of the Pakistan army, Section 7 of PoK’s Interim Constitution forbids any attempt by its citizens “to propagate against, or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to, the ideology of the State’s accession to Pakistan.” [Emphasis added].
So, when Pakistani army continues to occupy PoK and the Constitution of PoK categorically deprives its citizens “full freedom… to vote on the question of the accession of the State,” with what face can Islamabad demand that people of J&K should be allowed to exercise their ‘right to self-determination’? Accordingly, it’s not at all surprising that the international community pays no heed to Pakistan’s ridiculous lament?
‘Disputed Territory’ Diatribe
Another central ingredient of Islamabad’s feeble Kashmir narrative is its own bizarre deduction that J&K is “disputed territory.” In fact, ever since New Delhi abrogated Article 370, this seems to have become the proverbial ‘fig leaf’ with which Islamabad is trying to hide the near complete obliteration of its Kashmir narrative.
Pakistan claims that UNSC resolutions imply that J&K is “disputed territory,” and even though deeply flawed, let’s, solely for discussion’s sake, accept the same. As the phrase suggests, “disputed territory” denotes a piece of land whose ownership is undecided, and hence its claimants have no rights on the same. so, by arbitrarily ceding the approximately 5,180 km2 Shaksgam tract in PoK to China in 1963, how can Pakistan even believe in its wildest dreams that the international community will buy its absurd “disputed territory” deduction!
Secondly, a claimant can’t allow a ‘third party’ to undertake any developmental activity on ‘disputed’ land without explicit permission of other claimant[s] or the authority which had determined that the area in question is ‘disputed territory’. So, allowing infrastructure creation by China in PoK under its CPEC projects without even approaching UNSC, serves as the final nail in Pakistan’s ‘disputed territory’ coffin!
Revisiting Indian Response
Absence of any serious takers for Pakistan’s Kashmir narrative (except China!) and its weird habit of making a fool of itself through foot-in-mouth utterances may well be two of the reasons for New Delhi’s subdued response to Islamabad’s virulent verbal attacks. Readers may recall that after Article 370 abrogation Islamabad approached UNSC with great flourish to get this decision revoked.
However, just a day before the scheduled UNSC meet, the then Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned his people not to live in a “fool’s paradise” as UNSC members, “are not waiting for you with garlands in their hands.” Similarly, after making a lot of noise and announcing that it had decided to take the Article 370 abrogation issue to the International Court of Justice, Islamabad suddenly developed cold feet and never exercised this option.
Silence on Pakistan’s diplomatic blunderbuss is a mature response as it clearly indicates that Islamabad’s allegations are so incredulous that they don’t deserve a response. Nevertheless, by letting Islamabad get away with slander gives its proxies in Kashmir an opportunity to echo the same falsehood and indoctrinate gullible Kashmiris. This in turn retards mainstreaming efforts in Kashmir Valley and as such there is a definite requirement for New Delhi to be more proactive and immediately demolish Islamabad’s canards.
So, while Islamabad continues its puerile efforts to showcase solidarity with secessionists in Kashmir, New Delhi needs to expose Pakistan’s shameless duplicity and outrageous machinations in Kashmir to the world [in general] and people of Kashmir [in particular]. This shouldn’t be a difficult task, as unlike Islamabad which has to conjure myths in order to keep its Kashmir narrative alive, all that New Delhi has to do is to simply present facts and these by themselves will automatically expose Pakistan’s unending litany of lies!