Monday, 26 September 2016

Using General Assembly to spit out at each other

This is not the first time that India and Pakistan are engaged in a fierce exchange of words over the issue of Kashmir in UN General Assembly. The UNGA had been used in the past too to advocate and defend oneself while castigating the other’s position on Kashmir. The main agenda set for the 71st regular session of the UN General Assembly was sustainable development of the world. However in their general debates, India and Pakistan instead of inspecting or speaking about regional and national issues pertaining to social development focused their respective speeches on leveling allegations against states’ interests. Isn’t war-torn Kashmir a matter of human security that needs to find a space in the realm of regional sustainable development? Doesn’t Pakistan’s stance about human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir relate to absent international concerns about the conflict ridden territory?
Sustainable development is intrinsically linked to peace. One like India could not speak of sustainable development or poverty eradication without eliminating military and weapons from her backyard. More so, because the United Nations was created in the post-World War II to promote international peace and stability after the humanity faced gross genocidal episodes in two world wars. However with wrong practices established, the UN herself provides a platform for those engaged in war and militancy to promote their cause either in the name of world peace like the USA did in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan or in the name of defending their national interests like India does in the case of Jammu and Kashmir.  
The question arises that how could the regular sessions of the UN General Assembly provide podiums to member states to sell their propagandas which are in clear violation of both the debate agenda and charter of the United Nations? Why the rights of reply revolve around only blame game marginalizing the real agenda of the international forum? Be it Israel or India, the issues of Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir provide only half-truths to the already well-aware international community who serve as mere blind spectators outside the UN building and as deaf listeners at General Assembly sessions.

Asma Yaqoob
Research Analyst
Islamabad

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