Kashmir is not India’s ‘internal issue’, UNSC moot affirms
–Dr Lodhi says world’s top forum has acknowledged restive region’s disputed status
–Chinese envoy says UNSC expressed concern over India’s blatant human rights violations in Kashmir
NEW YORK: The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) special meeting on Friday has affirmed the disputed status of Indian Occupied Kashmir, as it called upon both Pakistan and India to exercise restraint and refrain from unilateral actions that would aggravate the situation.
Briefing the press about the discussion in the world’s top forum, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that the 15-member UNSC had taken notice of the Kashmiris’ plight due to blatant human rights violations by the Indian occupational forces. “The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up and their voices not heard in their own homes and their own land, but their voices were heard today at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council. It is for the first time in 50 years that the world body has reaffirmed that Kashmir is not India’s internal issue as it is an internally recognised dispute,” she said, thanking the member states for convening a meeting on the issue.
“Pakistan has, and always will, continue to highlight the gross human rights violations against the Muslims of Kashmir who are seeking their right to self-determination,” she said.
The ambassador said that India had made desperate attempts to thwart the meeting but the member states had ignored its pleas. Prior to Lodhi’s briefing, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun held a press conference to discuss with the media China’s stance on the issue. He said that the Security Council members “have expressed their serious concern” regarding the current situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. “They are also concerned about the human rights situation there and also, it is the general view of the members that parties concerned should refrain from taking any unilateral action which might further aggravate the tension there,” he said.
Presenting China’s standpoint, the ambassador said, “China holds the view that the issue of Kashmir is an issue that is left from history between India and Pakistan. According to the relevant Security Council resolutions, the status of Kashmir is undecided and it is an internationally recognised dispute.” “The Kashmir issue should be resolved properly through peaceful means in accordance with the UN charter, the relevant Security Council resolutions, and bilateral agreements. This represents the international community’s consensus,” he emphasised.
“It’s obvious that the constitutional amendment by India has changed the status quo in Kashmir causing tensions in the region. “China is deeply concerned about the current situation and opposes any unilateral action that complicates the situation and we call upon the relevant parties to exercise restraint and act prudently and in particular, [we oppose] actions that will aggravate the tensions,” said the Chinese ambassador.
The foreign minister, in a parallel press briefing in Islamabad, underscored the big diplomatic victory for Pakistan as for the first time after 1965, the issue of Kashmir had been brought to the Security Council. He congratulated the nation as new life had been breathed into an issue which was “thought of as dead”. FM Qureshi said that the participants of the meeting discussed the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir and expressed serious concern over the situation of human rights in the region. The foreign minister said that the meeting itself was an achievement for Pakistan as it negated the Indian claim that Kashmir was its internal matter. He said that once again the global community had recognised Kashmir as a disputed region. The minister said that the Foreign Office would further assess the achievement in a meeting tomorrow and deliberate the next steps to take.
He vowed that Pakistan will continue to stand by the Kashmiri people “to every extent”. He also thanked various human rights organisations for continuing to highlight the issue as well as the UNSC. Earlier on Wednesday, China backed Pakistan’s request for the UNSC to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, asking for the body to meet “behind closed doors” on Friday, diplomats said. President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday that “the UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16”. The August 5 decision by India blocks the right of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there. Telephone lines, internet, and television networks have been blocked and there are restrictions on movement and assembly.