Monday, 22 November 2010

The story behind deletion

The story behind deletion
Kashmir has lost its regularity on the UN Security Council agenda and remains alive under an annual reminder rule
Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani
The recent uproar in a section of press on both sides of LoC that Kashmir has been deleted from the UN agenda and subsequent planted clarifications in the press prove beyond doubt that Kashmiri leaders do not have a reliable understanding of Kashmir case and at the same time continue to act in a hypocritical manner on the subject.
If we don’t want to pursue the UN mechanism on Kashmir and seem to avoid a robust reference to it, it should not bother us if the UN deletes or keeps Kashmir on its agenda. UN is not a human person. Its collective wisdom rests in the collective wisdom of all member nations. Decisions are taken or skipped on the basis of interest or non-interest of member nations. Interests are not a natural reflex but need to be cultivated through a broad spread of diplomacy and active work of various NGOs.

It is true that something has happened to Kashmir case on November 11, 2010 and much more has happened on September 15, 1996. On November 11, 2010 Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN in his capacity as President of the Security Council presented the annual report of the Council to the General Assembly as contained in document A/65/2. The report covers the period from August 2009 to July 2010. It makes a reference to long-running situations that remain unresolved. It is true that the list of unresolved situations makes no reference to Kashmir.

The non-inclusion of Kashmir in the annual report should have caused a serious concern to Kashmiri leaders, in particular, to all those who turn up at every social occasion organised by High Commission of Pakistan in Delhi. The report covers the period from August 2009 to July 2010. It means that all that has happened in Kashmir during this period has not been adequately presented outside the city of Srinagar. There is an All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPG) constituted in the British House of Commons. The decision of Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN to skip reference to Kashmir in his report is a living example that APPG in the British Parliament or any other institution charged and resourced by Pakistan does not have much acceptability when it comes to a full scale test. Kashmir is used for self-serving purpose by these institutions.

The tent put up in Geneva and the so called hearing arranged in the European Parliament in the name of Kashmir all have meant to nothing when it came to the preparation of the annual report of the UN Security Council by Britain, during its Presidency of the Security Council. The non-inclusion of Kashmir as an unresolved issue in the UN Security Council could not be blamed on Britain alone because the introduction to the report was prepared by the delegation of Nigeria, which held the Council’s presidency in July. Nigeria is represented in OIC as well.

The responsibility of the non-inclusion of Kashmir as an unresolved issue falls on the shoulders of Pakistan as a party to the dispute and as a member nation of the UN. It means that Pakistan has failed to take advantage of the many open meetings of Security Council and has failed to take advantage of the live broadcast of its (Security Council) meetings on the internet. All Member States have a regular opportunity to take full advantage of the regular briefings by the Security Council during the course of the year, which provide details of the Council’s discussions on issues of the day. Pakistan, in the case of Kashmir, seems to have failed to sensitise the interest of the UN Security Council, as a long outstanding issue and in particular in respect of the civil unrest from August 2009 to July 2010. It appears that Kashmiri leaders have lost all moral and ethical anchor required to defend the Rights Movement.
It was not only the non-inclusion of Kashmir as an unresolved issue in the report but Kashmir has lost on the question of thematic focus that the Council maintained in much of its work. These themes are now well established on the Council’s agenda: conflict prevention and peacekeeping; protection of civilians; children and armed conflict; women, peace and security; and relations with regional organisations.

Kashmiri women could have benefited from the 10th anniversary of Resolution 1325 in October – on women, peace and security – which was a landmark event. The Council adopted a Presidential Statement that supported taking forward a set of indicators as a framework to track implementation of Resolution 1325 in situations of armed conflict, post-conflict and other relevant situations.
Ambassador Amjad Hussain B. Sial Acting Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN made a last minute effort and pointed out that the annual report did not make any reference to Jammu and Kashmir dispute “in the context of unresolved long-running situations. We understand this was an inadvertent omission, as Jammu and Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the Security Council.” Ambassador Sial does deserve a credit for his quick comment.

It does not make the annual report different in any manner to what it has been presented to the UN General Assembly. Kashmir could not find a mention alongside with other long-running situations, which included Middle East, Cyprus, Western Sahara and other issues where the Council has become engaged in recent years, including Nepal and Guinea Bissau.

It is unfortunate that we have continued to lie to our people even when much worse things have happened to Kashmir issue at the UN. In August 1996 UN Security Council under rule 11 of the provisional rules of procedure decided that as of “September 15, 1996 matters which have not been considered by the Council in the preceding five years will be automatically deleted from the list of matters of which the Council is seized”. As a result the matters which were included in the summary statement of the Secretary General for deletion attracted the India–Pakistan question (Kashmir) as well. It was found that Kashmir was last discussed on November 5, 1965 and had not been discussed for 30 years and 11 months. It was deleted and lost its regularity on the UN SC agenda which it had continued to occupy for 48 years from January 1948 to August 1996.

Once again a procedural stipulation came to the rescue of Kashmir. The Security Council, however, decided that “A matter will however, be provisionally retained in the list of matters of which the Security Council is seized for a period of one year if a Member of the United Nations notifies its objection to its deletion before September 15, 1996. If at the end of one year the matter has still not been considered by the Council, it will be automatically deleted”.

Our leaders should have the courage to tell the people that Kashmir has lost its regularity on the UN SC agenda and remains alive under an annual reminder rule. It was deleted in September 1996 from the UN SC agenda and now has lost its place in the annual report of the UN Security Council. It is time that every Kashmiri decides to exercise his and her right to intervene in the matters that concern him or her or their children.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations and can be mailed at

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