By M J Aslam
In chapter 43 titled “Super-powers’ Chessboard”, Sheikh M Abdullah(SMA), writes on pages 335-336 that it was Pakistani authorities in UN that, on many occasions , when the solution to Kashmir-issue was “almost finalised” or “within reach”, stumbled which , to him, seemed their “intellectual bankruptcy” or “politicking”. In support of his contention, he refers to two such occasions: First, when Pakistan made disagreement with the presence of specific number of the Indian troops to remain in Kashmir at the time of plebiscite which was proposed to be 27, 000 total that too for “security purposes” “within barracks” only; but, on this “trivial matter” Pakistan was not ready for allow presence of more than 24, 000 troops in Kashmir at the related time. Second, when India agreed to the holding of “limited plebiscite”, as was proposed by Sir Owen Dixon, it was Liaquat Ali Khan 1. , who, somewhat trivially and childishly, insisted that he would not agree to the proposal till “I (SMA) was removed from my premiership”.
Even though, SMA isn’t specific in details regarding the passing-reference–type- statements, these prod the mind of a reader to know more about them. We will refer to them one by one below:
To arrive at the truth of the aforementioned contention raised by SMA, capitalised by India, propagated by his successors regarding Pakistan’s disagreement with the presence of specified number of Indian soldiers, it is necessary to dig more into the facts surrounding this argument. As winter was setting in Kashmir making it difficult for the Indian troops to repel the “aggressor”, on 1st January, 1948, India lodged a complaint under Articles 34 & 35 of the UN Charter against Pakistan’s alleged support for tribesmen with the “certain” hope that Pakistan was going to be called “aggressor” by the UN. But, to the utter dismay of India, after the exemplary advocacy of Pakistan’s case by Sir Zafrullah Khan, the UN SC did not declare Pakistan “aggressor”. Rather, it was convinced on 20th January, 1948 to pass Resolution 39 whereby United Nation’s Commission for India and Pakistan/UNCIP was set up which “succeeded in stopping the fighting and had secured a cease-fire which became effective on 1st January, 1949”. 2. “The Indian press was highly critical of the SC Resolution for not having condemned Pakistan as aggressor, insisting that reports were still coming in of her complicity in building the military strength of the Azad revolutionaries……[India] sent a letter of protest to the UN and refused cooperation in any implementation of the resolution”. 3.
But, sadly, “it took UNCIP 11 months to assemble in Geneva by which time India had already launched its summer offensive” against Pakistan. 4. First, the demand for ‘withdrawal from the State of J&K of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting’ came in the UN SC Resolution 47 adopted on 21st April, 1948. This Resolution also required India to reduce its troops to the “minimum strength” after which “the question of accession of the State to India or Pakistan” should be decided through an impartial plebiscite to be held under the UN auspices. 5. The UN demand for settlement of issue and withdrawal of soldiers “simultaneously” 6., was repeated in UN Resolution of 13th August, 1948 (Part II, Truce Agreement) 7.
Despite the delay in taking immediate action, UNCIP laid the groundwork for demilitarization and plebiscite, as envisaged in aforesaid Resolutions. It, however, failed to bring agreement between Pakistan and India to many of its points. More so, as there was division of opinion on several issues among its 05 members, it suggested to the UN that entire issue of J& K should be handed by “one man” only. Pursuant to the report of the UNCIP followed by elaborate discussions in December, 1949, the UN SC passed Resolution 80, on 14th March 1950, which terminated the UNCIP. In place of UNCIP, the UN during the discussions appointed “informal mediator” or special representative General A.G.L. McNaughton to assist the two nations in demilitarizing Kashmir as a prelude to finding a permanent solution to the dispute. “Although Pakistan agreed to his proposals, India did not”. 8. Thereafter, on 27th May 1950, UN appointed “formally” an Australian jurist, Sir Owen Dixon, as a one-man successor to UNCIP. After extensive travel of all parts of the State (Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgat, Baltistan, Azad Kashmir) and meeting SMA too, Sir Owen Dixon made recommendations to the UN on 15.09.1950 that included conducting “zonal plebiscite”, region by region, and replacement of the local government of Indian-backed-SMA by independent officers of UN to prepare and arrange for holding fair and impartial “zonal plebiscite”. These recommendations were again accepted by Pakistan but rejected by India.
—The author can be reached at: [email protected] The views and observations are solely the author’s own
Notes & References:
1.See Liaquat _Ali Khan Wikipedia; 2. Danger in Kashmir, Josef Korbel, (1954), Foreword; 3. Ibid, page 112, citing New York Herald Tribune, 25th April, 1948 news that Nehru declared Resolutions unreasonable & which India can neither execute nor accept; 4. Kashmiris-Fight-For-Freedom by M Y Saraf (2009) vol. II, page 1060; 5. Kashmir in Conflict, Victoria Schofield. (2003); 6. This point is explained in last paragraphs of Part III; 7. Resolution adopted by the UNCIP on 13 August 1948. (Document No.1100, Para. 75, dated the 9th November, 1948).https:// www. mtholyoke. edu/ acad/ intrel/ uncom1.htm; 8. Supra, Kashmir in Conflict, page 82; 9. Ibid;