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UNSC resolution on Kashmir cited by Pakistan has killer clause

The proposed UNSC resolution of April 21, 1948 required Pakistan to withdraw "tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident" from all of Jammu and Kashmir to undertake the plebiscite on Kashmir though it was never intended to be complied by Pakistan.

UNSC resolution on Kashmir cited by Pakistan has killer clause

New York

The UN Security Council resolution on the Kashmir plebiscite that is invoked by Pakistan has a killer clause that scared away Islamabad right from Day One: It has to withdraw from all of Jammu and Kashmir not only its troops but also its nationals who are not from there before it can take place.

This primary demand of the Council is not mentioned by Pakistan - or its apologists - when harping on the plebiscite part. Islamabad's initial fears about leaving the territory it had seized and being routed in a plebiscite sabotaged it and trapped the Kashmir issue in a 72-year quagmire.

The resolution adopted on April 21, 1948, had proposed a three-step process for the plebiscite and the first required Pakistan to withdraw "tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered for the purpose of fighting and to prevent intrusion into the state such elements and furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the state".

The resolution spoke of "tribesmen" because Pakistan had sent its military personnel disguised as tribesmen along with some Pashtuns into Kashmir to take over the territory, which triggered Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh's decision to join India after his initial indecision.

Seeing through Pakistan's ruse of trying to create an impression that it was a spontaneous uprising, the resolution made the withdrawal of the "tribesmen" as the first condition.

Only after a commission set up by the Council was satisfied the Pakistani "tribesmen" had cleared out that India was required to progressively reduce its forces to "the minimum strength required for the support of the civil power in the maintenance of law and order", the resolution said.

This was to be followed by the plebiscite - which never took place because Pakistan refused to comply with the Council resolution.

Called Resolution 47, it was proposed by Taiwan, which was then a permanent member holding China's seat, and adopted unanimously.

The resolution, in effect, left it to Pakistan to start the process as it did not have any punitive or enforcement measures like sanction to ensure it was obeyed.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention to the resolution when he said in a statement on Thursday that "applicable Security Council resolutions". That effectively puts the issue back into the circular trap.

B.L. Sharma, who was an officer on special duty for Kashmir Affairs in the External Affairs Ministry, has explained from his ringside perspective why a plebiscite is not possible: Pakistan has sabotaged proposal.

In his 1967 book, "The Kashmir Story", he wrote: "Pakistan never wanted a plebiscite. In spite of a plethora of statements of its leaders to the contrary, acceptance of plebiscite by its government was insincere. All available evidence goes to show that it did everything in its power to prevent a plebiscite from being held. In this endeavour, it achieved complete and unqualified success."

The reason Pakistan was afraid of the plebiscite was that the raiders and troops it had sent in "had indulged in loot, arson, rape, and murder in the State. Scores of villages and towns were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people uprooted. A large number of women were abducted and sold", he wrote.

"These were hardly the ways of winning the votes," he wrote.

Instead of holding the plebiscite when it was proposed -- and agreed to by India -- "Pakistan wanted to mark time, pinning its faith on the hope that memories are short, time might heal the wounds, and better opportunities might come in the future", Sharma wrote.

The Council has adopted 18 resolutions concerning India and Pakistan between 1948 and 1971 - when the last one was adopted after the Bangladesh War.

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