My Speech at the Pakistan Mission to the UN/ January 7, 2020

January 7/ Pakistan Mission to the UN/ NYC

  1. There would be so many things to talk about today when it comes to Kashmir, but I want to stick to the topic that brought us together here: the continued relevance of the UN Resolutions regarding Kashmir.
  2. Without any doubt, it is still the only legal basis for the dispute, and it makes Pakistan an original and continuous stakeholder.
  3. This is despite the Simla and other bilateral agreements, entered into from time to time, some under extreme duress, and all having been violated any number of times by one or the other.
  4. None of these agreements ever resulted in any meaningful dialogue regarding Kashmir and today that possibility seems more distant than ever.
  5. There are groups that are currently advocating abandoning the Resolutions and to declare them as expired or no longer valid.
  6. This is to some degree because these groups are well aware that the choices for a Plebiscite in the Resolutions contain only India or Pakistan and not Independence.
  7. This is extremely unfortunate and only helping those who want the UN to close the case.
  8. Those who are advocating it should be urged by us all to put their efforts into finding another legal vehicle for their cause, but in the meantime to still uphold the Resolutions as the only possibility for multilateral intervention and mitigation.
  9. There are others who say that Plebiscite has not happened and will never happen because Pakistan has not agreed to withdraw its troops from Azad Kashmir.
  10. But UN records show that on at least two occasions different formulae for troop reductions were proposed in an attempt to allay fears that India may take over the Pakistan administered areas if troops were to be withdrawn completely. Pakistan agreed to the recommendations, India did not.
  11. Then the Dixon and Chenab Formulas were devised at the request of the UN and in an effort to solve the dispute in accordance with the sentiments of the people of all regions. Both plans allowed for a Plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley. Pakistan agreed, India did not.
  12. I strongly feel all of this must be revisited and brought to the attention of younger generations around the world. Conventional “wisdom” has been that Pakistan has been the obstacle in implementing the Resolutions and the conducting of a Plebiscite. This is far from the truth. From the beginning, India has not acted in good faith throughout the entire process.
  13. Much that has been written by Indian historians has unfortunately successfully entered the annals of Kashmir history as “gospel truth,” and it is in desperate need of revising and dissemination everywhere where it matters. This must be a top priority for us because it allows India to claim that the Resolutions should be discarded because of non-performance by Pakistan which is not true!
  14. Last year, I met Karen Parker at a Kashmir Solidarity Event at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. Karen was the first human rights lawyer to have filed a report about Indian atrocities in IOK with the UN in the 90s.
  15. She has always been advocating the Right to Self Determination for the Kashmiri People and is still pushing for a UN supervised Plebiscite in accordance with the resolutions while talking to member states
  16. She was quite tough on the audience during the event in DC.
  17. She pointed out that the UN Resolutions demanding a Plebiscite were undoubtedly still legally valid and enforceable, and the only legal vehicle to be insisted upon aggressively and by all.
  18. She also said that over the years the demand had been diluted not only by India’s rejection of it but also by different camps lobbying for different solutions instead of the right to be able to choose one.
  19. She said that this has left member states confused and often convinced that Kashmiris are not united in their quest for a final resolution.
  20. She concluded that while different Kashmiri groups and regions may very well not be united in what they would consider their favorite final outcome, it is that very fact that was to be addressed by a Plebiscite to begin with!
  21. I very much share her views and also want to urge everybody today to remain united in demanding the Right to Self Determination only. All else can wait until the results of a Plebiscite are tabulated.
  22. Last but not least and with many of my own friends in mind, I would like to urge those who are committed to choosing a merger with Pakistan over other solutions, to realize now and in the future that theirs is a legal choice which they are entitled to make and that declaring it openly is not a criminal act.
  23. Over the years and because of India having relentlessly portrayed a political dispute as a terrorism problem, many of that camp have been driven underground or are reluctant to voice their preference. That must stop!
  24. They should receive all our encouragement and support and be always reassured that they are not breaking any laws whatsoever by expressing their wish to join one of the two legal stakeholders as contained in the Resolutions.

Thank you.

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