Pakistan secured a diplomatic victory on Friday when a resolution it sponsored was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The adopted resolution, which was co-sponsored by 71 countries, reaffirms the right to self-determination for peoples subjected to colonial, foreign and alien occupation, recognised as a fundamental international legal principle enshrined in the UN Charter. The Assembly called on “those States responsible to cease immediately their military intervention in and occupation of foreign countries and territory.”
The popularity that this resolution received should, in theory, be taken as an affirmation that a large majority of the international community is sympathetic to the Kashmiri cause and recognises India’s illegal occupation. The passing of this resolution should show that even if the international community might not be so ready to stand up to India on the Kashmir cause, it still believes in the idea of self-determination, at a time when right-wing leaders increasingly try to undermine the principle. The resolution should, at surface level at least, be a win for Pakistan and Kashmir.
Yet, as time has shown, UNGA resolutions often only have symbolic value; especially in self-determination causes, these resolutions do not always translate to action. This is why Pakistan must keep up the fight. This resolution is a good start—it narrows out the countries from whom self-determination is still a fundamental legal concept. Pakistan should navigate diplomatic channels to reach out to those countries and try to get more support for far more ambitious resolutions. The atrocities that India is committing are not difficult to prove—no human-rights-valuing nation could ever endorse the never-ending lockdown that India has imposed in IIOK, even before the pandemic gave the Indian government more excuses to exercise excesses.