ISLAMABAD, 5 January 2023: Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK) held a webinar titled “Right to Self-Determination in Kashmir: Universal Human Right or Illusive Utopia,” to commemorate January 5th as the Right to Self-Determination Day. 5th Jan 2023 marks the 74th anniversary of the Resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), stating that the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute would be decided through the democratic method of free and fair plebiscite under the supervision of the UN. However, despite the passage of more than 7 decades, the dispute lies in limbo as the UN has miserably failed to implement its own resolutions.
The speakers of the webinar included Professor Damien Kingsbury, Director of the Master of International and Community Development, Department of International Politics, Deakin University; Ambassador (R) Asif Ali Khan Durrani, former Pakistan ambassador to UAE, India and Iran.
The webinar was moderated by Musaib Manzoor, Program Coordinator LFK. While setting the premise for the discussion he elucidated the significance of 5th January 1949 resolutions pertaining to Kashmir issue passed by the UNSC. He further highlighted the incapacity of UNSC to implement its own resolutions on Kashmir, and the hypocritical approach of International Community towards the issues of national identity and Self-Determination in Palestine and Kashmir.
While addressing the panel Professor Damien Kingsbury said that there are more than 160 active movements across the world fighting for Right of Self Determination. Kashmir is also one of the oldest UN recognized disputes, where people are demanding for the right of self-determination for more than 7 decades.
UN Security Council despite having the capacity to implement the resolutions of the dispute, they are responsible for delaying the settlement of dispute. World has witnessed the lack of mutual consensus between Veto powers on any issue of the world. There has been mostly disagreement over world issues between major powers because of their interests lying in disputes. Three significant powers (India, Pakistan and China) are claiming a silver of Kashmir. The world community must understand the reality and the idea of national identity to settle the dispute.
To ensure the Right to self-determination for the suppressed and oppressed nations was one of the main concern of Woodrow Wilson’s 14 point formula but the right to self-determination is realized nowhere as per the people’s aspirations.
Ambassador Asif Ali Khan Durrani stated that Kashmir has always remained on the agenda of UN. Dozens of resolutions have been passed in UN related to the right to self-determination of Kashmir. Immediately after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A the UNSC called for a closed door meeting.
Mr. Durrani further said that the ground realities of Kashmir are not hidden to the world, new tools and techniques are being used by Indian forces to suppress and oppress the pro resolution movement of Kashmiri people. Mass human rights violations and demographic changes are going on in Kashmir, the non-Kashmiris are given political and civil rights in Kashmir. They have been given property purchasing rights and the Muslim majority is being converted into minority.
No doubt the economic muscles of Pakistan are very weak but Pakistan has not changed the policy over Kashmir. Pakistan has always tried to settle the Kashmir peacefully but India has always refused for any peaceful settlement. India not only refused to settle the dispute but also have been violating the international standards and norms especially the resolutions of United Nations Security Council. On one hand India is violating resolutions of Security Council and on the other hand India is claiming for permanent membership of Security Council.
India and Pakistan have fought 3 wars and the relationship between two states has remained always hostile especially after the abrogation of semi-autonomous status of IIOJK.
Moreover Mr. Durrani underscored that the perseverant Kashmiris have not lost hope, they are firmly standing and are showing consistency in their freedom struggle despite facing worst kind of brutalities. Citing an Afghan adage, “You have the watches, we have the time,” Ambassador Durrani asserted, No doubt the weather is not in favor of Kashmir as India is lobbying for support from the UN signatories but the world has witnessed the withdrawal of Soviet Union and US from Afghanistan in 1980s and 2021.