LAHORE - Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan and ex-Ambassador-at-Large Mohammad Akram Sheikh has opined that Pakistan should seek a vote at the upcoming session of UN General Assembly on Kashmir and get the Kashmir case referred to International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory capacity.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sheikh said that Pakistan should adopt a multi-pronged approach to benefit the oppressed Kashmiri people, as the world is responsive to the Kashmir plight after Indian Prime Minister Modi’s unilateral action.

A former president of the Supreme Court, Sheikh held that only in February this year, the International Court of Justice gave a landmark judgment in which it was held, that the process of decolonization of Mauritius in 1965 was not properly done and the agreement between the United Kingdom and Mauritius for the Chagos Archipelago did not consider the will of people of Chagos as per the UN Charter (detailed text of the judgment available at https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/169/169-20190225-01-00-EN.pdf).

The dispute spanning over 50 years was adjudicated by ICJ, after UN Secretary-General referred the issue to it as a consequence of the UN General Assembly adopting a Resolution to this effect (Resolution number 71/292) on 22 June 2017. The Chagos Archipelago went under UK control in 1966 under a 50-year agreement with Mauritius which ended in Dec 2016 and was extended for another 20 years. During this period, the people of Chagos Archipelago were forcibly evicted from their land and went into exile in other countries but kept on fighting for their right of self-determination. USA had taken the Chagos Archipelago from the UK under some agreement and made the famous military base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

The ICJ in its landmark judgment has considered inter alia all relevant UN General Assembly resolutions, support of African Union and its resolutions, jurisdiction in a dispute when two states are involved, the various principles regarding the right of self-determination besides a host of other legal issues.

Mr. Sheikh firmly believes that Pakistan should immediately launch a diplomatic offensive to press for Kashmiri’s right of self-determination and move a Resolution in UN General Assembly seeking reference to ICJ in its advisory jurisdiction. He believes that given the global awareness at present on Kashmir issue, it will be easy to get this resolution adopted with a simple majority.  At the same time, Pakistan government should keep on pressing the issue of human rights violations at UNHRC who has already issued two reports on Kashmiri human rights violations by India and is likely to take a tough stance during its present session in Geneva against India.