United Nations: Pakistan’s new government must not indulge in “polemics” but work to build a South Asian region free of terror and violence, India has said after Pakistan raked up the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin’s remarks came during the UNSC debate on Mediation and Settlement of Disputes. “I take this opportunity to remind – Pakistan – the one isolated delegation that made unwarranted references to an integral part of India, that pacific settlement requires pacific intent in thinking and Pacific content in action,” Akbaruddin said at the debate on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi raked up the Kashmir issue during the debate, drawing a sharp reaction from Akbaruddin who said Pakistan is “regurgitating a failed approach, which has long been rejected, is neither reflective of pacific intent nor a display of Pacific content.”
“We hope that the new government of Pakistan will, rather than indulge in polemics, work constructively to build a safe, stable, secure and developed South Asian region, free of terror and violence,” Akbaruddin said, a reference to the government in Pakistan under newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In her remarks, Lodhi said the “Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains a long-standing issue” on the agenda of the Council. She said through its various resolutions, the Security Council has 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 the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite” conducted under the auspices of the United Nations.
She said 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 UN representatives.
“Sadly, these resolutions remain unimplemented to date. 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.
“What is, at stake is both the Council’s credibility as well as the objective of durable peace in our region. We must not fail these tests,” she said.
Akbaruddin said as recognized by the UN Charter, pacific settlement of disputes can be through a variety of mechanisms and today, there are numerous actors and many forms of pacific settlement that may be better suited to address different issues.
“Instead of putting the United Nations at the center of mediation efforts and exhorting States to support them, perhaps, the international community should lend encouragement to those most motivated and having the capacity to do so to settle these, as appropriate,” he said.”
“Of course, there could be many forms of division of tasks of pacific settlement of disputes between the United Nations and other concerned actors that can undoubtedly be devised. It is important, however, not to charge the United Nations with responsibilities that it may be ill-suited to perform. Mediation, in every circumstance, is one such task, it is not geared to fulfill,” he said.
Mediation, on the face of it, is based on the interest, consent, and commitment by all parties for a peaceful settlement. He stressed that the issue is not whether mediation is a useful tool for the peaceful settlement.
“Where acceptable to all parties, it is, in a manner of speaking, settled international law,” he said.
Akbaruddin said the questions to be addressed are whether the apparatus of the United Nations, as currently constituted, can perform many of the basic functions required for effective mediation and are the mechanisms at the disposal of the United Nations coherent and flexible to guide dynamic negotiations with an effective strategy.
He pointed out that the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, does not come to mediation unencumbered. The problems of the United Nations apparatus as a mediator are ingrained in the nature of inter-governmental organizations.
“Inter-governmental organizations are hindered by complex decision-making procedures. Add to it the specificities of the U.N. Charter, that is premised on cooperation amongst the permanent members. That cooperation is clearly not evident. Where it does manifest, it invariably takes the form of the lowest common denominator,” he said.
Further, policy-making within an international organisation adds another layer of bargaining and trade-offs, he said adding that it requires a time-consuming and uncertain process of consultation and coordination among a multiplicity of actors.
“Such tortuous decision-making process, imbued with political trade-offs, saps the United Nations of necessary dynamism and flexibility in pursuing mediation. Once the UN authorised entities agree on a mediating proposal or framework, it cannot easily be modified in response to changing circumstances. Modification requires renegotiation,” he said.