January 5 marks an important landmark in the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.
It was on this day in 1949 that the UN Commission on India and Pakistan adopted a resolution calling for a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
Towards this end, a webinar was organized on January 5 in Canada at which a number of panelists spoke.
Conducted by Pakistan’s Consul General in Toronto, Mr. Abdul Hameed, messages of the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan were read out by Shahbaz Malik, Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in Ottawa.
Other panelists included Ms. Karen Rodman of Just Peace Advocates, Zafar Bangash, Director Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, Phil Taylor, Radio Journalist and human rights activist, and Robert Fantina, author and journalist.
All panelists made reference to the UN commission that was established with the consent of both India and Pakistan and the resolution of January 5, 1949 was agreed and accepted by both.
The January 5th resolution, therefore, established the legal basis for the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite (referendum).
Not surprisingly, the people of Jammu and Kashmir observe January 5 as the Day of self-determination.
We must also recall that it was India which had taken the matter to the UN Security Council in January 1948 after the people of Jammu and Kashmir had risen up against the tyrannical rule of Maharaja Hari Singh who had fled the State in October 1947.
India’s invasion of Jammu and Kashmir was based on the claim that the Maharaja, Hari Singh signed an Instrument of Accession to India.
He had already fled the state capital and had, therefore, no power or authority to enter into any such agreements. He was never elected by the people who had intense hatred for him because of his brutal rule.
British historian Alistair Lamb has questioned the authenticity of the Instrument of Accession.
It has never been produced in public.
Regardless, the Instrument of Accession—if it exists at all—cannot have any legal standing because the fate of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has to be determined by the people, not any single individual.
This principle is enshrined in the UN Charter.
At its founding in 1945, the UN had only 73 members but today it has 193 members.
In the decades following the establishment of the UN, many countries gained independence as European colonial powers exhausted by the blood-letting of the Second World War were forced to divest of their colonial possessions.
Regrettably, even as other parts of the world were breaking the shackles of colonialism, Kashmir and Palestine were being subjected to settler-colonial subjugation.
In both instances, Britain played a devious role.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was illegally occupied by Indian troops as Lord Mountbatten, the last British viceroy and India’s first governor general, connived to facilitate the occupation of the state.
In the case of Palestine, both Britain and the UN played midwives to give birth to the Zionist monstrosity called Israel.
When Indian troops arrived in Srinagar—the state capital—they faced a people’s insurrection that had already forced the tyrannical ruler to flee.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir had made clear that they wanted to be part of Pakistan.
Their history, culture, geography and roads all linked it with Pakistan.
The postal and telegraph services were also linked with Pakistan and the people of Kashmir sold their merchandise in the markets in Rawalpindi.
It was, therefore, natural for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to wish to join Pakistan.
By invading the state, the Indian government stalled the people’s desire to gain independence and determine their own future.
Both Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mountbatten, aware of their illegal action, tried to play for time and promised that once the ‘law and order’ situation had been brought under control, the people’s wishes would be sought and respected.
Pakistani troops as well as tribesmen from the border region also got involved.
Realizing that it was losing the war, India took the matter to the UN Security Council asking its intervention for a ceasefire.
This led to two Security Council resolutions, in April and August 1948 which called for a ceasefire, and cessation of hostilities.
The resolution of January 5, 1949, adopted by the UN Commission on India and Pakistan, followed the two earlier resolutions.
Both India and Pakistan had agreed in advance to accept this resolution.
In fact, an earlier resolution adopted by the Commission on August 13, 1948, had in Section C, PART III, spelled out clearly what the two countries had agreed to.
It said, inter alia:
“The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan reaffirm their wish that the future status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be determined in accordance with the will of the people and to that end, upon acceptance of the Truce Agreement both Governments agree to enter into consultations with the Commission to determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured” (emphasis added).
The UNCIP unanimously adopted this Resolution on August 13, 1948.
Members of the Commission were: Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Czechoslovakia and USA.If the people of Jammu and Kashmir insist on their right to self-determination, they have a legal basis for such a demand.
India is the clear aggressor and violator. It must be held accountable for its crimes against the Kashmiri people.