M Yusuf Buch, a Pakistani expert involved in the Kashmir dispute right from the start has dubbed his country's stand as "unsound" stressing that these resolutions have "no importance at all."
3 June 2000
From Jal Khambata
NEW DELHI: In a stunning blow to Pakistan always relying on the two UN Security Council resolutions on plebiscite in Kashmir as the bedrock of its case, a Pakistani expert involved in the Kashmir dispute right from the start has dubbed his country's stand as "unsound" stressing that these resolutions have "no importance at all."
The expert is 74-year old M Yusuf Buch, whose opinion gains an immediate relevance in the context of Pakistan angrily reacting to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh's assertion in a CNN interview on May 31 that the UN resolutions required Pakistan to withdraw all its troops from Jammu and Kashmir for other "necessary actions" to follow.
The News, an independent English daily of Pakistan, says: "For those who may not know or may have forgotten, there is no greater authority on Kashmir than M Yusuf Buch who has been involved in it from the very start. Since 1953, barring the five years that he was in Pakistan as Zulfiqar Ali Bhotto's special assistant, he has been at the UN. Every major speech made on Kashmir from the '50s through the '70s (from Pakistan side) has had an input by Buch, if not entirely his work. His knowledge of Kashmir at the UN is encyclopaedic and his insights original. It is, therefore, important to know what his thoughts on Kashmir today are. Buch is just 24 years older than the Kashmir dispute."
Buch was asked where do the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir stand today? His reply:
"The UN Security Council resolutions have no importance at all. To date, the counsil has accepted 1,100 resolutions, out of which only two are important, both passed under Chapter 7, while Kashmir and the rest of the 1,100 were passed under Chapter 6 which does not oblige the council to take action."
When reminded that Pakistan's entire stand consists of the Security Council resolutions being implemented, Buch remarked: "This demand is unsound. When we make this demand, we are told that the Security Council has passed 1,100 resolutions. What is so special about those involving Kashmir. ...As for the resolutions, they are no more than non-binding recommendations."
Buch was referring to the two Security Council resolutions passed under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, resulting in the UN's intervention in case of the liberation of the island of East Timor from Indonesia and in another dispute between Yugoslavia and Italy settled in favour of Italy through a referendum.
He went on to explain: "The real thing is not these (Kashmir) resolutions but the international agreement which formed the basis of these resolutions. Not all Security Council resolutions were passed with the consent of the contending parties. The resolutions on Kashmir were passed with the consent of India and Pakistan and thus they are in the nature of an international agreement."
Pakistan's Foreign Office has dug out a report submitted to the UN Security Council by Sir Owen Dixon, the UN representative for India and Pakistan on September 15, 1950 to assert that it were India and not Pakistan that had derailed the UN resolutions for solution to the Kashmir dispute.
The Dixon report had concluded: "In the end, I became convinced that India's agreement would never be obtained to demilitarization in any form or to provisions governing the period of plebiscite of any such character as would, in my opinion, permit the plebiscite being conducted in conditions sufficiently guarding against intimidation and other forms of influence and abuse by which the freedom and fairness of the plebiscite might be imperilled."
While Pakistan's Foreign Office asserts that the Security Council resolution adopted on December 23, 1952 did not call for complete demilitarisation as it provided for "between 3,000-6,000 armed forces remaining on the Pakistani side and 12,000-18,000 remaining on the Indian side of the ceasefire line," Buch points out that the plebiscite was derailed by Pakistan itself by objecting to India being allowed to station more troops than Pakistan and did not agree to the suggestion of Graham, who was to conduct the exercise as the UN administrator, that this question could be taken up after all arrangements for a plebiscite were in place."
Moreover, Pakistan lost its case for plebiscite soon thereafter by joining the US security pacts and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was quick in asserting that these alignments had changed the situation. Buch says: "Nehru found a lot of world support for this stand, in the same way as Nawaz Sharif found it for his agreement with Vajpayee. Pakistan's Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra called Nehru his elder brother and Nehru took advantage of this and Kashmir was consigned to the cold storage."
Buch also points out how Pakistan blundered again in 1965. "If we had taken advantage of the Chinese ultimatum and continued the war for some time, perhaps in six months a plebiscite in Kashmir could have taken place."
His particular stress on treating the two toothless UN Security Council resolutions of 1949 and 1952 as "international agreements" shows how they got superseded once India and Pakistan signed fresh agreements. He is particularly critical of the Tashkent accord which he is convinced should not have been signed because while the 1965 war was in progress, France initiated a move in the Security Council that after cessation of hostilities, an effort should get underway to settle all disputes between India and Pakistan. "Tashkent overtook that initiative which remained stillborn," says Buch.
Going by his argument, the latest agreement that superseded all previous agreements is the Simla agreement signed between Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi and if Pakistan wants to modify its position, it should enter into negotiations with India, the other party. So far, both India and Pakistan vow to abide by the Simla agreement which prohibits any third party intervention and as such Pakistan has been only breaching this agreement by words and deeds by repeatedly harping on the UN resolutions which are now deadwood and calling for the third party intervention to resolve the Kashmir dispute.
Buch also blames Pakistan for sabotaging the "freedom movement" of Kashmiris. He blames Ziaul Haq for having placed the Jamaat Islami at the head of the Kashmir resistance movement, whereas it was the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front which had really fought for freedom. Buch's regret is that "the Jamaat liquidated leading JKLF figures, men who were legends in Kashmir."
While India has allowed the ban on JKLF to lapse early this year, the JKLF's supreme commander Amanulla Khan was lying under detention in a Pakistan prison since last year after he advocated an end to militancy by transfer of both Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to the UN trusteeship for 15 years and India and Pakistan jointly taking care of the region with regards to defence, currency and external affairs for these many years before conducting a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmiris.
Amanullah Khan, who is out of the Pakistan jail after long detention, continues to criticise Pakistan for sabotaging what he describes as Kashmiris' "liberation movement." He was quoted by The News stating that "Pakistan-based militant organisations are a big threat to the identity of Kashmir and have damaged the ongoing liberation movement." Regretting that the presence of foreign militants in Kashmir has projected the Kashmir movement as a terrorist movement, he said only Kashmiris can resolve the present crisis in the valley.
In a related article in another Pakistani daily, Nation, Brig. (retd) A R Siddiqui has quoted from an out-of-print book "Danger in Kashmir" written by Josef Korbel, the then Chairman of the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). Korbel, an ethnic Czech who had immigrated to the United States in the late '50s, is father of the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The book shows how Korbel got frustrated in his efforts to the extent that he had even ruled out the possibility of the plebiscite ever. In his book, Korbel writes: "...the Commission reluctantly not only abandoned the prospect of any immediate ceasefire arrangement, but alas and even more discouraging, began to doubt the possibility of ever being able to arrange an impartial plebiscite." END