The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Myanmar to “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of” alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims. For many, the order is of utmost importance as it acknowledges the systematic patterns of persecutions of Rohingya Muslims. But the civilian leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi is not convinced. She thinks the Rohingya refugees might have “exaggerated” the extent of the abuses. Whatever excuses she makes up to soothe her guilty conscious, United Nation’s (UN) highest court order is a ray of hope for many an oppressed community around the world. Many experts think that the court can issue a verdict along similar lines in the case of Kashmir as well.
Senior counsel Mohammad Akram Sheikh has urged the federal government to refer to the ICJ the matter of violation of human rights and lockdown of Kashmiri people by Indian forces in the occupied Kashmir. However, it is not that simple. Although in 1974, India recognised the ICJ jurisdiction as ipso facto compulsory over all disputes, its acceptance was qualified by a long list of reservations. One of these reservations concerns disputes with states, which have been part of the Commonwealth. Yet, Akram Sheikh has a point. Pakistan can lobby with friendly nations, which are not part of Commonwealth, and convince them to take India to the UN’s top court for its violations in Kashmir.
That being one of the many options that Pakistan can exercise, the moral and political issue before the UN is this: is India justified in usurping the will of Kashmiri people who want nothing short of independence from India. The international community has said on many occasions that all colonised and occupied people reserve the right to self-determination. Nevertheless, its silence over India’s refusal to grant Kashmiris the right to self-determination is beyond comprehension. This silence over India’s occupation of Kashmir is securing nothing for any state but eroding the essence of the UN.
Nevertheless, Pakistan is keen on exploiting every international forum for solving Kashmir dispute. A few days back, the Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan reiterated that the UN needed to intervene in the situation in occupied Kashmir. The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has already announced the launch of a new information campaign against India’s narrative on Kashmir. The UN needs to understand that Kashmir is as much a political dispute as it is a legal one. And if it does not play its role in solving it, it is not fulfilling its primary task: saving the future generations from the scourge of war.