New York (Agencies): Citing the unresolved Kashmir dispute, Pakistan has called for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that provide for the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Kashmiri people to usher in peace in South Asia.
“The international community cannot succeed in its efforts to strengthen conflict prevention and promote pacific dispute settlement if the Security Council’s own resolutions are held in abeyance, by some,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, said Wednesday in a Council debate on “Mediation and the Settlement of Disputes”.
While the United Nations has had some successes in mediating political settlements, its record is, “at best, checkered,” she added.
The long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute remain on the Council’s agenda, with the 15-member body having provided that “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through a democratic, free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.”
“Sadly, these resolutions remain unimplemented to date, what is at stake is both the Council’s credibility as well as the objective of durable peace in our region,” she said, adding: “We must not fail these tests.”
In its bid to resolve the Kashmir dispute, she pointed out that the Security Council also instituted several mechanisms including the UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the deployment of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and the appointment of distinguished Representatives of the United Nations, who consulted the parties and submitted reports on how to resolve the dispute in accordance with provisions of the Security Council resolutions.”
Expressing concern about the Security Council’s increasing tendency to resort to measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter (enforcement action), she underscored the important complementarity between Chapters VI (pacific settlement of disputes) and VII, which must be clearly held.
Citing the recent successful examples of mediation in Colombia and between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, she nevertheless said the world seems to be afflicted by ever more complex conflicts. The Secretary ‘General’s call for a surge in diplomacy for peace is urgent, as “it costs more to pick up the pieces after a conflict than to prevent one”.
Ambassador Lodhi urged the Security Council to make more frequent use of the secretary-general’s good offices and other possibilities for mediation and conciliation. “We are happy to note that the Secretary General is working to expand the pool of high-level envoys and senior mediators with special emphasis on women,” she said, while emphasizing gender-parity in the composition of the Board.
“Despite clear evidence to suggest that active participation of women during peace processes significantly enhances the prospects for success, women continue to remain on the sidelines of the peace continuum,” she said, adding: “This anachronism must end.”
“While the Council could refer disputes to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion if not a legal decision or adjudication, it should also utilize its mandatory enforcement authority under Chapter VII of the Charter to refer a dispute to the ICJ, whose determination would thereafter be binding on the parties, irrespective of whether or not they had accepted the jurisdiction of the Court.”
Among the briefers at the Council meeting were Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and Mossarat Qadeem, a Pakistani who is Executive Director of PAIMAN Alumni Trust. Ms. Qadeem said women have been excluded in the process, stressing that, despite the rhetoric of support, “we as women remain largely outside the door”. Sharing her experience of negotiating with the Taliban in Pakistan, she asked: “How much longer can the world really afford to exclude those of us who are making peace at the front lines?”
During his speech in the debate, Indian Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin insisted that the references to Kashmir in Pakistan’s statement were “unwarranted”, claiming that the state was an “integral part” of India.
Not only that, he suggested that the United Nations was “ill-suited” to handle the mediation process. “Mediation, in every circumstance, is one such task the Organization is not geared to fulfill,” the Indian envoy added.
Exercising his right of reply, a Pakistani delegate, Saad Ahmad Warraich, said multiple resolutions of the Security Council recognize Kashmir as a disputed territory whose final status is yet to be decided.
“We wonder why a mere assertion of this fact has caused the Indian delegation so much panic,” he said. “Invariably, it is the anxiety of an occupying power, an all-too familiar syndrome.”
“While there was nothing novel in the contents of the Indian assertions, which we will not dignify with a response, what was remarkable was the setting chosen to undertake this disingenuous attempt to disencumber the UN of its central role in the pacific settlement of disputes,” Warraich said.
The Pakistani delegate asked India to recognize that the United Nations is not “ill-suited” to undertake the resolution of disputes. Instead, he said it is India that refuses to acknowledge its ability to do so.