“This group (UNMOGIP) was placed here to maintain the sanctity of the Line of Control. Unfortunately for over past two and a half decades, this organisation has done nothing to maintain the sanctity of the LoC,’’ Omar said, replying to a question about the statement made by India’s representative in the UN that UNMOGIP should end its role as its position “has been overtaken by the Shimla Agreement of 1972”.
Omar said J&K has been a victim of cross-border and cross-LoC terrorism, and UNMOGIP has not passed any strictures while taking note of ceasefire violations.
The Kargil war followed a violation of the LoC by Pakistan. “The United Nations failed to uphold the sanctity of the LoC then,” he said.
Soon after the escalation of tensions over the beheading of an Indian soldier on the LoC in Mendhar, Islamabad had suggested a probe by UNMOGIP. New Delhi rejected the suggestion, and India’s envoy at the UN, Hardeep Puri, sought the winding up of the mission. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been strongly opposed to any move to disband UNMOGIP.
Since 1990, the UNMOGIP headquarters in the Sonwar neighbourhood of Srinagar city has been a destination for political parties and groups seeking to hand over memorandums to the UN.
UNMOGIP is under the command of an officer of the rank of major general, who is designated Chief Military Observer (CMO), who divides his time between J&K and Islamabad. UNMOGIP has field stations in Rajouri, Poonch and Jammu.
There has been no field station in the Valley since 2003. Across the LoC, there are field stations in Sialkot, Potli, Bimber, Dombi, Rawalakote, Squadoo and Gilgit.
The observers have not been allowed to do operational work on the Indian side since 1971.
However, they are fully operational on the Pakistani side. Maj Gen Young-Bum Choi from Korea is the current CMO, who took over from Maj Gen Raul Gloodtdofsky Fernandez of Uruguay last June. The mission is staffed by officials from various countries, but only three are present at the Sonwar headquarters, including Capt. Robert Stezic from Croatia.