New York, January 16, 2020 (PPI-OT): Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said after meeting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Wednesday evening that the repressive measures taken by India after annexing Kashmir in August last year have caused heightened tensions and are threatening international peace and security in South Asia. The situation is very delicate and could spin out of control, he told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.
The foreign minister spoke a couple of hours after the Security Council discussed the grave situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir for the second time in five months. Pakistan, he said, was gratified that the 15-member Council has once again considered the Jammu and Kashmir situation.
“It also reaffirms that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute, (its) final disposition must be done in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the aspiration of the Kashmiri people.” Replying to a question, Qureshi said it is India – not Pakistan that has refused talks.
Pakistan has never shied away from a bilateral engagement, but unfortunately the Indians are not prepared to engage, he said, noting that as soon as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan came to power in August 2018, he made overtures to India which were unfortunately rebuffed.
After his talks with the UN chief, the foreign minister also held meetings with the President of the UN General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria and the President of the Security Council for the month of January, Dang Dinh Quy of Vietnam that focused mainly on the situation in Kashmir.
At the end of his whirlwind visit to New York, he left for Washington to continue his mission aimed at easing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Meanwhile, a UN readout on the secretary-general’s meeting with Qureshi said that he “reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia through political dialogue, diplomatic solutions and respect for human rights.”
During his press talk, Qureshi said he had written letters to the secretary-general and the council president voicing Pakistan’s concerns over India’s threatening moves and demanding action to resolve the decades-old Kashmir dispute. Responding to a question, he said that as Kashmir is on the agenda of the Security Council, it cannot just wish away the issue that is alive and serious.
“The UN’s position is very clear,” the foreign minister said, citing the secretary-general’s statement of August 8. Guterres had then said, the position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council resolutions.
The UN chief also recalled the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the UN Charter.
The foreign minister said the UN, in its briefing to the Council meeting earlier in the day, had confirmed that India’s August 5 measures resulted in the rise of tensions and that the local situation remains tense. Political leaders remain detained, internet and communications blockage (are) in place.
UNMOGIP, the peacekeeping unit, was also facing restrictions on the Indian side, it was pointed out.
The UN also reported on the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir and mentioned the excessive use of force, tear gas, rubber bullets and killings. “A solution should be found in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements,” the foreign minister said.
Qureshi said he also briefed the Secretary-General on Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to defuse the dangerous tensions between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. following recent events. Pakistan, he said, has affirmed that it will not participate in any conflict in the region.
“It will be a partner for peace,” the Foreign minister said, adding, “To defuse tensions and promote peace, I visited Tehran and Riyadh earlier this week and will visit Washington tomorrow.” With the President of the General Assembly, he said he discussed Kashmir, the Gulf situation and Afghanistan as well as the priority goals of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), climate change, Islamophobia and illicit financial flows. He said he also briefed him about the Ehsas programme aimed at reducing poverty.
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