Pakistan refutes Indian claim over UN Military Group in Kashmir

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan rejected an Indian argument in the Security Council that the role of United Nations Military Observers Group in India Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors ceasefire along the Line of Control in Indian occupied Kashmir, has been overtaken by the 1972 bilateral Simla agreement, saying the group’s mandate remained “fully valid, relevant and operative.”

“No bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan has overtaken or affected the role or legality of UNMOGIP,” Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan told the 15-nation Council after his Indian counterpart Hardeep Singh Puri questioned the status of the 42-member observer group in the course of a debate on UN peacekeeping.

The open day-long debate was convened by Pakistan, which holds the presidency of the Security Council for the month of January.

“The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) continues to monitor the ceasefire in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Ambassador Masood Khan added.

The Indian ambassador raised the issue after Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Gilani, who presided over the council meeting, underscored the “important role” UNMOGIP has played in monitoring peace along the LoC.

As Ambassador Masood Khan set the record straight, another Indian delegate challenged Pakistan’s stand. Manish Gupta, a counsellor at the Indian Mission to the UN, said that UNMOGIP had been put in place to supervise the ceasefire line as result of the 1949 Karachi agreement.

That ceasefire line no longer existed; the new one was established on 17 December 1971 and followed by an agreement between the two countries in 1972, which settled their issues by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations, he said.

That resulted in conversion of ceasefire line into the line of control. The ceasefire line had thus overtaken by the LOC. “Thus UNMOGIP remains invalid,” the Indian delegate added. Pat came the reply from Masood Khan: The fact is that both India and Pakistan are hosting UNMOGIP.