With the changing scenario at the global level, India too has made its pedestal high. Speculations are rife over the removal of the United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) from Jammu & Kashmir … writes RC Ganjoo
After the abrogation of Art 370 and 35 A from Jammu & Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019, and giving it the status of Union Territory, there was hardly any displeasure from the world community. Most of the countries described the removal of the special act from Kashmir as an internal matter of India.
Technically Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of India since 1947 as mentioned in the J&K constitution “the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India”. The J&K State Constitutions now have been ended along with the abrogation of Art 370 and 35 A. The present status of Union Territory granted to J&K has further strengthened the relationship with India.
With the changing scenario at the global level, India too has made its pedestal high. Speculations are rife over the removal of the United Nations Military Observer Group ( UNMOGIP) from Jammu & Kashmir. The NDA government led by BJP, after holding the Kashmir bull by horns is planning to evacuate the offices of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India. Since its existence in 1947, the UNMOGIP has gradually lost its authority to discharge its duty as observers for which they were introduced in both parts of Kashmir. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the two countries signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972 to define the Line of Control in Kashmir. India and Pakistan disagree on UNMOGIP’s mandate in Kashmir because India argued that the mandate of UNMOGIP has lapsed after the Shimla agreement because it was specifically established to observe a ceasefire according to the Karachi Agreement.
In August 1947, India and Pakistan became independent. Under the scheme of partition provided by the Indian Independence Act of 1947, Kashmir was free to accede to India or Pakistan. Its accession to India became a matter of dispute between the two countries and fighting broke out later that year. In January 1948, the Security Council established the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to investigate and mediate the dispute. In April 1948, the Council decided to enlarge the membership of UNCIP and to recommend various measures including the use of observers to stop the fighting. In July 1949, India and Pakistan signed the Karachi Agreement established a ceasefire line to be supervised by the military observers…On 30 March 1951, under the command of the Military Adviser, formed the nucleus of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) following the termination of UNCIP. UNMOGIP’s functions were to observe and report, investigate complaints of ceasefire violations and submit its findings to each party and to the Secretary-General.
According to data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, there were no incidents of Ceasefire Violations (CFV) in 2022. In 2021 there were 670 CFV incidents, in 2020 5133 were recorded and in 2019 were 3479. After witnessing over 5,100 incidents of ceasefire violations in 2020, the violations and killings at the border in Jammu and Kashmir this year were at an all-time low in the last more than a decade.
US-based Kashmir Global Council (KGC) director Altaf Qadri on the removal of UNMOGIP offices from Kashmir, without mincing words, told this journalist “we believe there is no role for Kashmiris to keep these offices or not. This is predominantly for Pakistan to do whatever it can to preserve these offices. And if they can’t do it, how can helpless Kashmiris”.
US-based Kashmir Global Council (KGC) was founded in September 2016 in the US and headed by Farooq Siddiqi alias Farooq Pappa in Ontario in Canada. Though the KGC is carved out from the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) but leaving aside the ideology of JKLF – the right of self-determination, implementation of UN Resolution, and no Plebiscite. Today KGC’s sole aim is to pursue the formation of the Kashmir Senate and strive to engage India, Pakistan, and international partners.
According to Altaf Qadri, “we have proposed a ‘Jammu Kashmir Senate’ in exile in which prominent personalities from five units of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir( Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, PoK, and GB will participate in serious deliberations which will be a vehicle to carry forward for further dialogues with India and Pakistan.”
In the process ‘Kashmir Global Conference” has been activated in the US and Canada where the Kashmir problem will be discussed to hold elections in all the five segments of Jammu and Kashmir under the United Nations after the withdrawal of forces from both India and Pakistan.
Further elaborating on the KGC proposal Qadri said: “To break the status quo, all parties will have to show flexibility and extend a political space to form the Senate across the state and engage with the Senate together. India will engage separately within the Kashmir of the Senate, and Pakistan can engage with the PoK Senate separately. After the arrival of some understanding, there could be a grand joint meeting with India and Pakistan.”
While exposing Pakistan’s double standard on Kashmir he said “I knew very well that Pakistan army either doesn’t have the mental tools to conclude an issue (Kashmir and Afghanistan) or deliberately keeps the case alive for domestic political reasons.”
When Qadri was asked by a few Kashmiris why didn’t they do something about it internationally? His reply to them was “we will not be a propagandist for Pakistan. We believe both constructors of resolutions have bypassed their commitments in Tashkent, Shimla, Lahore, Agra, and thousands of times clandestinely, including the abrogation of articles 370 and 35 A. Some secret deals between India and Pakistan may be in progress in Bangkok, Dubai, Qatar, or Nepal.”
Qadri’s rebuttal was more startling when he put counterarguments to a particular constituency “don’t we remember the Pakistan army asking Kashmiris to come out on the streets to protest and offer their boys to Indian bullets? Only after a couple of months did the Pakistan army offer India a hundred years of peace pact that India didn’t even heed about. How can one be such an idiot not to understand it? These incidents must be an awakening call for Kashmiris. To ignore them would cost them another generation. I must admit that the ignorance of our predecessors has caused tremendous suffering and pain to the present generation. Let’s not repeat it for corruption and further complicate the chances of a solution.