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The partition of India in 1947, which resulted in the emergence of the states of India and Pakistan, created many loopholes and fissures which from time to time influenced the relations of both nascent countries. Of the many legacies of partition, one and the most sensitive issue was the Kashmir dispute. It has remained the sole cause for bitterness and antagonism between the two states and precluded any possibility of development in either of the countries. Despite the fact that both countries suffer from intense poverty, deprivation and other social issues, yet they spend a substantial amount of budget in modernizing their military capabilities at the expense of social and economic development as both of them see each other with suspicion due to the developments arising out of partition. The issue remains elusive as attempts at bilateral and international level have failed to bring about a unanimously agreed solution of the problem.
The trouble in Kashmir dated back to pre-partition as people in that area were greatly disconcerted by the Dogra rule which had become oppressive and unjust. Muslims faced acute economic and social problems and were treated with discrimination. Thus, there existed a general indignation and dislike over the rule of Maharaja. However, trouble actually began after the partition plan was announced on 3 June 1947 by Lord Mountbatten. Apart from creating Pakistan and India, the plan stipulated that the princely states numbering 564 could have the option of acceding either to Pakistan or India provided that they took into account geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people.
The overwhelming Muslim population of Kashmir and its geographical proximity and other cultural, religious and ethnic affiliations with Pakistan made it more inclined and amenable towards Pakistan. However, the Maharaja Hari Singh vacillated between joining either of the country. Meanwhile people had rebelled against the oppressive rule of Maharaja and started a freedom movement which led him to ask for the Indian help. India made the promise of help contingent upon Maharaja’s acceding to India. Thus, the instrument of accession was secured and India airlifted its soldiers into Srinagar and started suppressing the revolt with brutality. Mountbatten accepted the accession with the proviso that when the law and order situation normalized, the decision to accession should be left at the disposal of people. The Indian soldiers started ruthlessly killing Kashmiri people and within six months about 80.000 people had died and more than 7000 had fled from their homes. This led the tribal people of NWFP to come to the rescue of their brethren and later Pakistani regular troops joined them against the aggression of Indians and on account of refugee influx which burdened the nascent country.
India, though usually indifferent and unmindful toward UN resolutions, ironically, was the first to refer the matter to UN Security Council and submitted a formal complaint on 1 January 1948 against alleged Pakistani aggression and abetting of the tribal warriors. India justified its action by refuting the use of any force in securing the instrument of accession and stated that it had the backing of majority of people being represented by sheikh Abdullah. India reiterated its holding of plebiscite once Pakistan had vacated Kashmir. However, Pakistan refuted all these charges asserting that it was India that had committed aggression on Kashmiri people and that the accession was nothing but farce; it had forced Junagadh and Hyderabad to accede to India by a similar fraudulent manner. Therefore, after weighing both arguments on 17th January 1948 UN came up with its first resolution urging both the countries to improve the situation and desist from any such act as might aggravate the situation. Thereafter, UN appointed a commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) consigned with the task of carrying out investigation into the matter and normalizing the situation to ensure a plebiscite to decide the fate of the people. By the time UN came up with its new resolution, the situation over Kashmir had exacerbated and both the countries were on the verge of war. Therefore, UNCIP deemed it necessary first to bring about a cease fire between them which took place on 1 January 1949. By the time ceasefire occurred India was in possession of two-thirds of the territory, while the rest to which Pakistan had advanced was liberated by Pakistan. By this resolution a UN military was also stationed in order to overlook the implementation of ceasefire resolution and it was again repeated that Kashmiri people would decide their future.
But the fact remains that this plebiscite never took place which would have given the Kashmiri people to determine their own status. India blatantly violated the UN resolutions for allowing the plebiscite as she was afraid and never wanted Kashmir to join Pakistan. It never recognized Pakistan as a true actor in the issue and denied it for having a constitutional standing in the dispute whereas Pakistan articulated that the dispute can never be resolved until all the actors – Pakistan, India and Kashmiri people – are not involved. The failure of UN resolutions can be attributed to the intransigent and obdurate attitude of India and the fact that these resolutions were not binding in character; rather they were recommendations and did not carry any sanctions in case of non-compliance. The fact that UN could only recommend and advice and that it did not have the power to impose its principles was sufficient enough for India to bypass them and have its own way. Another reason for its inflexibility was perhaps the fact that India was more powerful and resourceful than Pakistan. The sheer size of its territory and its military strength made it domineering in its attitude. On the other hand Pakistan was a weakling from its inception partly because of the unjust Redcliff award and due to the withholding of division of assets which surely aimed at nipping Pakistan in the Bud.
To conclude, the resolution of Kashmir dispute is vital for the peace in this region. Pakistan believing in the neutrality and authority of United Nations always regarded the implementation of its resolutions as the only remedy for the deadlock but the trust reposed in it was not returned. Kashmiri people were denied their basic human rights for the preservation and promotion of which UN had come into existence. Though, primarily as a territorial dispute between Pakistan and India, it also concerns the people themselves who should be ensured their fundamental rights. If it could send a coalition force against the North Korean communists in the Korean War, then why it cannot use force or impose sanctions to ensure compliance with its resolutions. Thus, united nation must restore its prestige as a champion of human rights by giving proper attention to Kashmir issue and by providing them with the right to exercise freedom of expression and self-determination.