Pakistan has taken its case against the Indian sponsorship of terrorism on its soil to the United Nations. On Nov 24, 2020, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN submitted a dossier to the Secretary General of the world body, containing detailed evidence of India’s nexus with terrorist groups operating in Pakistan.
The dossier details India’s funding to terrorist groups; its provision of weapons for terrorists as well as training to them; and its attempts to sabotage CPEC. It provides evidence — in the shape of bank transactions — of Indian diplomatic staff in Afghanistan supervising terrorist activities in Pakistan, and providing financial support to TTP and dissident Baloch groups in the garb of humanitarian assistance. The dossier itemizes India’s provision of funds as well as arms and ammunition to entities like MQM for carrying out targeted killings in Pakistan. It also provides details of terrorist training camps set up by India in Kandahar and in its own territory; and raising of a 700-strong militia in a bid to sabotage CPEC.
Pakistan has a strong legal case against India. The Indian funding of terrorist outfits violates the very basis of international law that prohibits use of force. The same has been encapsulated under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter which states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Under the UN Charter, assisting or abetting non-state actors in any manner to carry out terror acts in another country constitutes “use of force” and a threat to a state’s sovereignty. The ICJ in Nicaragua vs. United States concluded that the US provision of arms and training to rebels “can certainly be said to involve the threat or use of force against Nicaragua.” According to the ICJ, arming, equipping, and financing non-state actors is a violation of the international legal principle of non-intervention and a jus cogens of international law.
Terrorist acts are also prohibited under international humanitarian law. Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, 1977 prohibits civilians and civilian objects being made the target of an attack. And Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, 1977 bans acts of terrorism against civilians and non-combatants, and limits the use of force to military objects only.
India, by providing arms and training to militants to disrupt peace and security in Pakistan, has resorted to use of force, and threatened the country’s sovereignty. Accordingly, India is also in breach of customary international law, the legal principle of non-intervention, and international humanitarian norms.
Furthermore, in line with the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (1999), the UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) calls upon member states to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, among other means, by criminalising the collection and provision of funds for terrorist purposes, and urges them to set up effective mechanisms to freeze funds and other financial assets of persons involved in or associated with terrorism, as well as to prevent those funds from being made available to terrorists. The UNSC Resolution 2178 (2014) also urges member states to disrupt terrorist-financing activities linked to foreign terrorists and to criminalize the financing of FTF travel.
By directly funding and training terrorists in Pakistan, India is in clear violation of the International Convention and has shown a blatant disregard for the UNSC resolutions. It is also in breach of customary international law as per the International Law Commission’s Report of Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts which holds that if a state omits or takes an action to help non-state actors commit an internationally wrongful act, it will be attributed to that state.
Since TTP and BLA are recognised terrorist outfits, India cannot even invoke Article 2(4) of the UN Charter which condones financial support for national liberation movements.
India has, therefore, very clearly violated the UN Charter, the Security Council resolutions, and international laws. Pakistan must present a strong legal case against India at the UN, besides hammering its convincing legal position before the world community, laying its nefarious designs bone bare.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2020.