EVEN as India looks all set to notch up a strategic victory by holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan Government faces a barrage of criticism for almost losing a diplomatic battle. For, in an effort to de-bureau-cratise the United Nations, the Security Council has initiated the scrapping of a list of issues that it has had on its agenda since its inception—including the India-Pakistan conflict, i.e. Kashmir.
Under fire from Washington (its largest contributor and greatest defaulter at $1.7 billion) for its outspoken Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and its 'inflated' bureaucracy, the UN's 1998-99 budget, released last month, announced staff cuts of 30 per cent and no increased expenditure. And in an effort to streamline the world body, a decision was taken to phase out dead wood-issues entangled in red tapism which, for too long, have been on the agendas of the various departments.
After month-long deliberations, the president of the Security Council released a note announcing the Council's intention to delete "matters which have not been considered in the Council in the preceding five years". The list of 50-odd issues included the Hyderabad (1949) and the India-Pakistan conflict (1965). Member-states were offered the option of speaking up before September 15, 1996. (The deadline was later extended to December 1997.) If they did, any given issue would be retained on the agenda for a year.
On August 13, Pakistan's permanent representative at the UN, Ahmed Kamal, wrote to the Security Council president protesting against the deletion. Expressing concern over the 'arbitrary' deletion, he criticised the move to take so many items (including Kashmir) off the agenda without consulting the parties concerned and spoke of the 'serious political implications' for the Council's future....