The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, in his address to the UN General Assembly on 26th September, 2012, maintained that Kashmir remains a symbol of failures rather than strengths of the UN system. He said that resolution of such issues could only be achieved in an environment of cooperation.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has drawn world attention towards settlement of the Kashmir dispute, which remains unresolved for the past more than sixty-five years. The fact of the matter is that Pakistani leadership has always advocated resolution of this festering sore of South Asia through peaceful means in line with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The assertion of President Zardari reaffirms the commitment of the government and people of Pakistan towards their Kashmiri brethren and reinforces the fact that the country is determined to keep raising the Kashmir conflict at every international forum.

It is a reality that Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute and the Kashmiris have been carrying on a peaceful struggle for the last several decades to secure their inalienable right to self-determination – a right that is also a fundamental part of the UN charter – promised to them by the world community. However, New Delhi continues to deny the Kashmiri people from exercising this right besides using every repressive and brutal tactic to prolong its illegal hold on Kashmir. But over seven hundred thousand Indian troops and police personnel, enjoying unbridled powers under draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Public Safety Act and Disturbed Areas Act have failed to intimidate the Kashmiris into submission even after killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, subjecting over ten thousand youth to custodial disappearance and putting thousands of others behind the bars.

It is unfortunate that while Pakistan has put many proposals for settlement of the lingering dispute, India keeps lingering with its intransigent approach and frustrates every effort in this regard under the garb of false claim that Kashmir is its integral part. It is a fact that India itself had taken Kashmir to the UN General Assembly and promised to give the people of Jammu and Kashmir an opportunity to decide their future by themselves after the World Body had passed a number of resolutions, acknowledging the disputed character of the territory.

Although, the UN has played an important role in resolving many disputes like those of Kosovo, East Timor and Southern Sudan within a very small period of time, but it has totally failed to get its own resolutions implemented and impress upon India to fulfill its commitments made with the people of Kashmir and the international community. This has resulted in the constant suffering of the Kashmiri people besides putting a question mark on the credibility of the World Body.

The deplorable aspect of the matter is that the UN has kept itself restricted to just issuing occasional statements when it comes to the issue of Kashmir and till date it has not taken any practical step for settling the Kashmir conflict that poses a great threat to the peace of the entire world. Even the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, during his visit to New Delhi, earlier this year, had called for a peaceful settlement of the dispute according to the “will” of Kashmiri people.

In this backdrop, the statement of President Zardari is of enormous importance as it points towards a harsh reality. The World Body needs to come out of rhetoric and take tangible measures to put pressure on New Delhi to give the Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination. This is essential not only for integrity of the UN but also for the global peace.

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