Government of Pakistan should be holding a political, moral, diplomatic and constitutional compass to guide the people of Azad Kashmir, GB and others living on the Indian side of cease fire-line. Indian actions of 5 August and 31 October 2019 in its administered part of Jammu and Kashmir, have raised the responsibility of Government of Pakistan, to better and perfect its compass. The guiding principles in the relations with Azad Kashmir have to be article 257 of the constitution of Pakistan and the responsibilities assumed under UNCIP resolutions.
Any other arrangement or caveats would be flawed and without merit. It would be a disaster if Pakistan is seen showing any signs of retreat from the jurisprudence of UN resolutions on Kashmir. The most recent reference to Azad Kashmir and GB as distinct territories, is made in paragraph 141 of June 2018 UN Human Rights Report on Jammu and Kashmir.
The 14th Amendment proposed by Ministry of Law and Ministry of Kashmir Affairs in the ‘constitutional framework’ of Azad Kashmir at a time when India has used brute force to re-occupy and imprison the people of Kashmir and dismember the territory under its control and unlawfully annex it within Indian union, in utter disregard of UN Resolutions, restraints in the terms of temporary accession, findings in the report of the State Autonomy Committee and by passing the serious challenge made to Indian rule by the people, makes no sense. It exposes the frustration embedded in these ministerial files and incompetence.
Prima facie it seems that ‘BABUS’ who used to enjoy power and privilege as masters, with no holds barred have not reconciled to the powers transferred to Azad Kashmir Government under 13th Amendment. In fact these ‘BABUS’ are responsible for a nascent dissent and sense of deprivation in some sections of community in Azad Kashmir. The constituency of this disaffection could be seen in Geneva, in New York, London and many other capitals of the world. The two ministries should be helping the people in Azad Kashmir to build institutions and be seen as a lead example of democracy and rule of law. Unfortunately they have pushed Kashmir from the cliff into a deep dark ravine.
Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Ministry of Law in the Government of Pakistan, continued to strip the Government of Azad Kashmir of its principality and enjoyed restrictions placed on its ability to assume a status as a “local authority” as provided under UNCIP Resolutions. It is a status on its own and of its own. There would have been a continued and connected role of the UN. This status has been referenced in paragraph 141 of June 2018 UN Report on Human Rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the other hand there have been elements in Azad Kashmir Governments, who have used the tragedy of the Valley of Kashmir and the Assembly in Azad Kashmir, as an instrument of blackmail to extract quid pro quo from Islamabad. The Muzaffarabad Assembly has never made any serious effort to assist the Kashmiri refugees and the people in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir, in their struggle to defeat Indian diplomacy and break Indian hold.
There has never been an open debate on the situation in the Valley and other parts under Indian control. The composition of the Assembly has retained a mechanism which encourages corruption and quid pro quo. Azad Kashmir Assembly including the twelve refugee members have not shown any pointed and proportionate desire to respond to Indian actions taken on 5 August 2019. There has been no debate on the continued yearlong lock down.
President of Azad Kashmir flagged as a serious induction in August 2016 and expected to make a difference in the existing Kashmir narrative has failed to cast off his old skin as a retired diplomat. The induction could not unnerve India. Her diplomats had mapped him and his narrative over the years. He has failed to discharge his constitutional duties in accordance with Act 1970 and Act 1974 in regard to the institution of Plebiscite.
The Muzaffarabad Assembly has never made any serious effort to assist the Kashmiri refugees and the people in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir, in their struggle to defeat Indian diplomacy and break Indian hold
All presidents have continued to ignore this constitutional role for the last 50 years. It encouraged India to take an action on 5 August 2019. AJK President has hurt his role by showing up as the chief guest at every Virtual Conference arranged in the name of Kashmir. He has been in office since August 2016 and his neglect of constitutional duties and spins have hurt the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. President does have words to spin but would not feel the pain inflicted by 900000 Indian soldiers and the broad spread of State apparatus. He has failed as a compass and as a custodian of constitutional trust and defender of Kashmir constituency.
Amendment of Article 22,proposed in the 14th amendment, part of which has been copied from Article 48 (a) of The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian occupied) amounts to a total surrender and at the same time it disenfranchises the 2.5 million Kashmiri refugees. It would open up a new Pandora Box and Pakistan would not be able to keep peace at home and defend its image abroad.
These refugees are recognised in UN Security Council Resolution of 21 April 1948 and retain a strong merit in the UN supervised Kashmir Plebiscite. The top secret telegram sent by the Indian Embassy in Washington to Delhi in March 1950, confirms that Admiral Nimitz UN Plebiscite Administrator for Plebiscite in Kashmir, had plans to holds a plebiscite by First November 1950. The Plebiscite did not take place and we decided to take the wind out of our sails.
Government of Pakistan should involve the Kashmiri experts in constitutional matters. It should not run after the AJK Government with a broom of 14th Amendment but should allow it to assume its full role as a ‘local authority’ and allow it to revive its “Azad Kashmir Force” as recognised in UNCIP Resolutions. We need pointed and proportionate actions to undo Indian actions.
The writer is President of London based Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations