August 13, 1948: When UN had asked Pakistan to vacate PoK…and it hasn’t to this day!

13th August 2020

13th August 2020

Pakistan seems to be in overdrive when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir, a large part of which it continues to occupy illegally since 1947-48. It tries to raise the issue on different world forums but usually fails to draw any support. Be it in the United Nations, or in the Organisation of Islamic Nations (OIC), it gets snubbed regularly. Of course, we are mindful of China’s hard yards on the matter.

When Pakistan tried to bully Saudi Arabia for calling s special session of OIC to discuss J&K, its "Kashmir obsession" did not go down well with the Saudis. Not only was its request nipped in the bud, Pakistan also had to return $1 billion borrowed from them. The Saudis also cancelled a $3.2 billion oil supply deal it had agreed to earlier.

How did Pakistan repay the tranche of money it owed to the Saudis? By borrowing from its all-weather friend China who got a $6.8 billion deal to upgrade the railway network in Pakistan. Already, various China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have put Pakistan in heavy debts.

Some days ago, China tried to help Pakistan in raising the J&K issue at the UN. Officially, all member nations refused to toe the party line. China and Pakistan then discussed the issue behind closed doors and these efforts were stillborn.

Why is it that Pakistan was snubbed by the UN recently? Why does it happen, time and again, that the UN ignores Pakistan? The real reason lies embedded in the UN resolution on J&K passed on August 13, 1948. Perhaps, a bit of elaboration about background of the resolution and related issues will give us better perspective.

In May 1999, an impression was given by Pakistan that the heights in Kargil had been occupied by "mujahideen" fighters indigenous to Jammu and Kashmir. The truth soon came out and it became clear that it was troops of Northern Light Infantry (NLI), a component of the Pakistani Army, were the real culprits.

It fostered a narrative that it had nothing to do with the occupation of positions vacated by the Indian troops towards the end of 1998, at the beginning of the winters. Not that it's treacherous conduct was allowed to go unpunished for long.

Of course, India had to pay a heavy price for evicting the intruders, which included 527 fatal casualties, according to official sources. This was actually a repetition of the old classical tactics adopted by Pakistan, right from Day 1, right from its birth.

In October 1947, when it attacked Jammu and Kashmir State, it built up a narrative that it was "tribal lashkars" that were involved. After accession of J&K to India on October 26, the Indian Army started taking on the attackers. For several months, "tribal lashkars" were blamed for the attacks and mayhem all over.

India went to the United Nations (UN) hoping (wrongly) that the world body would be able to intervene effectively. Pakistan continued to disclaim any complicity of its armed forces in the planning and execution of the attacks.

The UN readily believed Pakistan and tried to defuse tensions between the two neighbours. However, by mid-1948, Pakistan could no longer hide its involvement and admitted openly that its armed forces were directly involved in the attacks on J&K.

This admission by Pakistan constituted a "material change" in the ground situation for the UN. Recognising Pakistan as the "aggressor", the UN then had to draft its resolutions in a manner that the onus of resolving the issue fell squarely on Pakistan.

On August 13, 1948, the UN passed a resolution which asked Pakistan to "vacate its aggression against J&K (a part of India) immediately". It was asked to withdraw all its forces stationed in J&K, as also the tribal laskhars that it had armed, to withdraw from the territories occupied by them.

The UN said that for final settlement of the J&K issue, vacating the aggression was the first step needed. The UN resolution of August 13, 1948, comprises Part I, Part II and Part III. Part I, "Ceasefire Order" comprised sections A, B, C, D and E.

Part II, "True Agreement" says in A:

1. As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.

2. The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesman and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for fighting.

In Part II are given sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 under B and  C are fairly elaborate and unambiguous.

In Part III of the resolution, the UN says that subject to satisfactory implementing of the preceding parts (Part I and Part II), this part will come into force.

It says in Part III: The Government of India and the Govt 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 determine fair and equitable conditions whereby such free expression will be assured.

Pakistan stresses on implementation of Part III which talks of the "will of the people" at all International fora. However, it deliberately obfuscates the issue that Part III could have been implemented if it fulfilled conditions given in Part I (A, B, C, D and E) and Part II (A 1, 2 and 3 & B 1, 2, 3 and 4).

The entire edifice of Pakistani propaganda rests on blatant lies as it has not implemented Part I and Part II of the UN resolution. All parts (I, II and III) follow each other in chronological order. Since Part II, which makes it mandatory for Pakistan to "vacate all territories of J&K", has not been fulfilled by Pakistan, the question of any progress on the issue doesn't arise.

Sant Kumar Sharma, a seasoned journalist, is an authority on Jammu and Kashmir. Two of his books on Article 370 and Delimitation are already out. The third one on Indus Waters Treaty is with the publishers. 

Sant began as a teacher but after six years, joined the Indian Express, Chandigarh in 1990, the year when terrorism was taking its first step in J & K and soon there would be exodus of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. He subsequently worked for The Statesman, The Times of India and Star News among others. He is based in Jammu since May 2000.

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