By Arul Louis
UNITED NATIONS–It’s 2016 and a native of Hyderabad, Syed Akbaruddin, is India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. But it is still 1948 for an amnesiac Pakistan. Gaining no traction on internationalising the Kashmir issue, Islamabad is continuing to rake up before the Security Council the accession of the Hyderabad nizamdom to independent India 67 years ago.
Much water has flowed under the Salar Jung Pul in Hyderbad, which is now “Cyberabad,” a flourishing hi-tech city and the capital of Telengana state. But Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi is asking the Council to keep alive the question of the princely state’s integration into a secular India.
Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Asaf Jah VII initially cabled the Council in 1948 asking it to get the newly independent India to stay out of Hyderabad, even as a popular uprising raged against him demanding integration with India and the army was rushing to the people’s aid. The Nizam withdrew his complaint when the integration became a reality and he reached an agreement with New Delhi.
Closing out the issue, India informed the Council in October 1948 that the complaint, “which Hyderabad never had the right to make, now stood expressly withdrawn.” That position has been tacitly accepted by the Council and the Hyderabad issue has lain dormant since 1949, except that Pakistan in a fit of nostalgia at the start of almost every year asks the Council to retain it.
Lodhi’s letter to the president of the Council dated January 7, was made public Wednesday by the UN. The letter took two other trips down memory lane to 1965 and 1971. Lodhi said Pakistan wanted the three “items retained on the list of matters of which the Security Council is seized.” The so-called “India-Pakistan Question” that Lodhi wanted to revive relates to Pakistan’s two attempts to take over Kashmir in 1948 and 1965.
There is a 1948 Council resolution on setting up a commission to help India and Pakistan “restore peace and order” and prepare for a plebiscite. It also asked Pakistan to withdraw from Kashmir its so-called “tribesmen” and its nationals. Pakistan has not complied, thus undercutting the fundamentals of the resolution.
In 2001, then-Secretary General Kofi Annan is reported to have said that the resolution was only an advisory recommendation and was not enforceable. And during 2010, the council removed Kashmir from its list of unresolved international disputes.
The “India-Pakistan Question” came up again before the Council during the 1965 war. A Council resolution that year asked both countries to observe a ceasefire and to meet with a representative of the Secretary General to implement it and the troop withdrawal. This has become moot because of the Tashkent Declaration signed the next year by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Pakistan President Ayub Khan.
The third issue that Lodhi raked up was “The situation in the India/Pakistan subcontinent” that goes back more than 45 years ago to the Bangladesh War of Independence. It has become a non-issue with an independent Bangladesh becoming a member of the UN and India and Pakistan agreeing in the war’s aftermath through through ths Simla agreement to resolve issues, with India, including Kashmir, without external involvement.