Pakistan’s Kashmir Canard Merits Fact-Based Response – OpEd


In his book ‘Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State’, former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani mentions how “Pakistan has been unfortunate that its leaders and rulers have repeatedly chosen ideological wooden-headedness over pursuit of reasonable and viable options.” While Pakistani politicians will not agree, Islamabad’s insistence in continuing to peddle a weak Kashmir narrative despite its abysmal failure to gain any meaningful traction within the international community, aptly endorses Haqqani’s perceptive observation.

The UN has repeatedly maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that needs to be mutually settled by them and has ruled out any third-party involvement. Yet, Islamabad continues to clamour for UN intervention on this issue and keeps singing paeans on what it touts as a “principle stand” on Kashmir. However, when put to the litmus test consequent to abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution by New Delhi in 2019, Islamabad’s [full of sound and fury] Kashmir narrative simply crumbled like a house of cards.  

Pakistan’s decision to take the Article 370 abrogation issue to UNSC on the absurd grounds that this was “illegal, and a violation of UN resolutions” in itself reflects the severe delusionality that afflicts Pakistan’s leadership. How is abrogation of a temporary provision in the constitution of a sovereign nation by its democratically elected government tantamount to “violation of UN resolutions,” defies comprehension. So, could it be that the Pakistani leaders’ puerile actions were due to misguidance by the country’s diplomatic corps and legal eagles? The answer is a categorical ‘No’!

Even before Pakistan’s objection to Article 370 abrogation came up for discussion in UNSC, there were several explicit indications that nothing would ever come out of this much-hyped exercise. Firstly, by refusing to discuss the Article 370 abrogation issue, the UNSC made it absolutely clear that Islamabad’s complaint was completely devoid of any substance. Secondly, by downgrading the confab to an informal generic discussion on Kashmir and ruling that neither would its proceedings be recorded, nor would any statement or resolution issuedon its conclusion, UNSC made it clear that this discussion would be a mere formality.

However, what truly exposes the Pakistani leadership’s ‘wood-headedness’ is the fact that they very well knew beforehand that their UNSC theatrics would end up in a damp squib. Readers may recall that even before this issue came up for discussion at UNSC, the then Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi cautioned his countrymen not to “live in the fool paradise” as “They [UNSC members] are not waiting for you with garlands in their hands.”

And Pakistan’s International Court of Justice lawyer, Barrister Khawar Qureshi’s legal view that “it is extremely difficult for Pakistan to take this case [of Article 370 abrogation and alleged ‘genocide’ in Kashmir] to the ICJ” served as the proverbial last nail in Pakistan’s comatose Kashmir narrative’s coffin! Unfortunately, Pakistan refuses to bury its lifeless Kashmir story coffin, and just the other day, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari once again tried to resurrect Pakistan’s dead Kashmir narrative by using an unrelated UN platform discussing ‘Maintenance of International Peace & Security – Conflict and Food Security’

While his admission that “we face a particularly uphill task to try and get Kashmir into the centre of the agenda at the United Nations,” is bang-on, Bilawal’s diagnosis that this humongous failure is solely because Pakistan’s “neighbouring countries” [read New Delhi] “strongly object, vociferously object and they perpetuate a post-fact narrative where they try to claim that this is not a dispute for the UN, that this is not a disputed territory recognised for the international community” is absolutely flawed.

The truth is that no one listens to Pakistan simply because it foolishly believes that rhetoric is an appropriate substitute for hard facts, and the Pakistan foreign minister’s quote ibid is a case in point. Just like Islamabad raises the issue of UN resolutions on Kashmir in every international forum, it’s high time that instead of reacting to its flagrant canard by engaging in a verbal duel. Instead, New Delhi should expose Pakistan’s brazen violation of these very resolutions on every occasion when UNSC resolutions are mentioned. 

In this regard, some issues that could be considered are:

1. On why UNSC resolutions on Kashmir are irrelevant. The following issues need to be highlighted. One, UNSC resolutions on Kashmir envisage a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue. However, by launching a military campaign codenamed ‘Operation Gibraltar’ to seize Kashmir through force of arms in 1965, Pakistan violated UNSC resolutions on Kashmir and hence has no legal or moral right to cite the same. Two, by intruding across the Line of Control [LoC] in the Kargil area of J&K in 1999, Pakistan army breached the ceasefire agreement and violated UNSC resolution 47 and hence is in no position to invoke the same.

2. On ‘Plebiscite’ in J&K. This is out of question for the following reasons. One, UNSC resolution 47 makes withdrawal of all Pakistani nationals the first prerequisite of the envisaged plebiscite process, and since Pakistan hasn’t done so, the same can’t be undertaken. Two, the constitution of Pakistan occupied Kashmir [PoK] states that “No person or political party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir [PoK] shall be permitted to propagate against, or take part in activities prejudicial or detrimental to, the ideology of the State’s accession to Pakistan.” As the people of J&K are not free to exercise their right to self-determination, a plebiscite cannot be held.

3. On Kashmir being ‘disputed territory’. Pakistan’s assertion has no merit for the following reasons. One, by ‘ceding’ nearly 1,942 square kilometres Shaksgam Valley which is J&K territory to China under the 1963 Sino-Pakistan Agreement, Pakistan has demolished its ‘disputed territory’ myth. Pakistan needs to be asked that if Kashmir is indeed a UNSC recognised ‘disputed territory’, then how could it cede Shaksgam Valley to China without seeking sanction from UNSC? Two, if J&K is really ‘disputed territory’, then how can Pakistan unilaterally enter into an agreement that allows development activities by a third country [China], without making any reference to UNSC or the other party to the dispute [India]?

Pakistan has gotten away with its monumental Kashmir falsehood for far too long and its time New Delhi shows Islamabad the mirror. It may be argued that since Pakistan’s Kashmir stance is so pathetic that it isn’t even worthy of being replied to, and, this reasoning makes sense. However, the flip side is that Pakistan’s proxies in Kashmir Valley use such false and misleading utterances to convey an impression to the gullible people that Islamabad’s claims have merit, and that India’s silence on these incredulous contentions are proof that New Delhi is the villain and has no answers.

After Article 370 abrogation, the then Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced, “I will be the ambassador who raises Kashmir’s voice at every international forum.” Bilawal too has admitted that he is “persistent” and using “every opportunity” to highlight Pakistan’s viewpoint on Kashmir. The commonalty in approach of these both these legislators pursuing conflicting political ideologies on this issue clearly indicates that Pakistan’s disinformation campaign on Kashmir is inspired by Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbel’s perverse [but extremely effective] strategy that “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they [the public] will believe it.” 

As such, Pakistani diatribe against India on Kashmir needs to be vigourously contested with hard facts, even if it entails repetitive articulation of factual evidence. This will ensure that Pakistan’s perfidy is fully exposed and the people of Kashmir realise how they are being used as pawns by Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] in Rawalpindi’s ongoing proxy war against India.

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a ‘Kashmir-Watcher,’ and now after retirement is pursuing his favorite hobby of writing for newspapers, journals and think tanks.

One thought on “Pakistan’s Kashmir Canard Merits Fact-Based Response – OpEd

  • March 18, 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Kashmir for centuries has been part of Indian heritage and culture. Pakistan was only born in 1947. India is relevant to the world, not only in its size and girth but by its ancient footprint and what matters to the world. ‘POKs Illegal occupation and accession to  Pakistan is questioned by the people of POK so what does Pakistan keeps talking about? Pakistan sold out Gilgit-Baltistan to China through the BRI cum CPEC. Pakistan having failed on all fronts has to keep certain issues boiling like ‘Kashmir’ to divert the attention of its people from the daily burning issues facing the common people.The world is watching Islamabad’s deepening financial crisis and the Afghanistan situation partially created by it. Need of the hour for Pakistan is to save Pakistan from further division then to think of Kashmir.Pakistani diatribe against India on Kashmir needs to be totally ignored.


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