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Big diplomatic victory for Pakistan, UNSC nullifies Indian claim on Occupied Kashmir

Big diplomatic victory for Pakistan, UNSC nullifies Indian claim on Occupied Kashmir

UNITED NATIONS: For the first time since 1965, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, nullifying India’s claim that this was an internal matter.

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun summed up the discussions, expressing serious concern over the situation. “The UNSC members are concerned about the human rights situation there and they (want) the parties concerned to refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension there since the situation is already very tense and very dangerous,” he said.

Due to serious diplomatic efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, for the first time in 50 years by any Pakistani leader, the UNSC held the meeting on Kashmir issue and negated the Indian claim that Kashmir was its internal matter. Once again the global community has recognised Kashmir as a disputed region between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the meeting brought the Kashmir dispute back to the world’s most influential panel and also highlighted the atrocities Indian troops were committing in the occupied territory.

“The voice of the Kashmiri people resonated in the chambers of the world’s highest diplomatic forum today,” she said. “The whole world is discussing the occupied state. This is an international dispute.”

“We are grateful for the 15 members of UNSC. We are ready for a peaceful settlement of J&K. It nullifies the Indian claim that J&K is an internal matter of India,” said Ambassador Lodhi.

The factor that motivated the world body to re-focus on Kashmir after more than 50 years was highlighted by Russian envoy to UN Dmitry Polyanskiy. “Very much concerned. We hope to avoid it,” said the Russian diplomat when asked by a journalist outside the meeting room if Russia was concerned the dispute could escalate into a larger conflict between India and Pakistan.

Ambassador Zhang also underlined this factor in his remarks to the media, warning that India’s move to amend Kashmir’s constitutional status was “causing tensions in the region, China is deeply concerned and opposes any unilateral decisions”.

The Chinese envoy pointed out that “India’s action has also challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreement”. He added that China believes “the status of Kashmir is still undecided” and “calls upon the relevant parties to exercise restraint.”

As the closed-door meeting began, two UN officials — Assistant Secretary General Oscar Taranco and Lt Gen Carlos Loitey — briefed the members of the Security Council on the situation in Kashmir and on activities of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.

Various diplomats briefing journalists on the proceedings of the closed-door meeting said that UNSC members urged India and Pakistan to refrain from actions that would exacerbate tensions in the region.

The members reaffirmed relevant Council resolutions on the issue, vindicating Pakistan’s position that the UNSC resolutions that call for a plebiscite in the disputed territory should be implemented.

After India revoked J&K’s special status on Aug 5 and announced the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan approached the UN Security Council against New Delhi’s “illegal” action that also violated relevant UN resolutions”.

Pakistan requested a closed-door meeting. In this regard, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Secretary General António Guterres on the grave situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).

In the letter to UNSG, Qureshi expressed concern at reports that India is preparing ground to change status of Indian Occupied Kashmir. Pakistan has consistently opposed any move that could alter situation in IoK as it would violate Security Council resolutions, Qureshi said in the letter.

Foreign Minister’s letter to UN Secretary General on the grave situation in occupied Kashmir was also circulated among members of the UN Security Council.

The letter said the Jammu and Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India has been on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council since January 1948. The UNSC has adopted a series of binding resolutions, including resolutions 47 (1948), 51 (1948), 80 (1950) and 91 (1951) which embodied the principle that “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations’.

Moreover in its Resolutions 91 (1951), 122 (1957) 123 (1957), the Security Council reaffirmed that any (unilateral) attempt by the ‘parties concerned’ to ‘determine the future shape and affiliation of the entire State {of Jammu and Kashmir} or any part thereof …would not constitute a disposition of the State in accordance with the above principle” (of a plebiscite), said the letter.

The letter said ‘Despite the solemn commitments made by the Government of India, including by its first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, in numerous official communications to the Security Council, to Pakistan, to other states, and to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to abide by and implement these Security Council resolutions and decisions, India has progressively resiled from these commitments over the years. This has provoked popular resistance by the people in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir against India’s rule. The festering Jammu and Kashmir dispute has also ignited several conflicts between India and Pakistan.

Qureshi in the letter highlighted the “deteriorating” human rights situation in Kashmir, violation of ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and India ending Kashmir’s special constitutional status.

The letter said India has renewed a campaign of brutal repression and committed grave violations of the human rights of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir, as documented in two successive reports issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights in 2018 and 2019. Since 5 August 2019, the scale of human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir has further intensified. Scores of unarmed demonstrators have been killed or wounded by indiscriminate fire by Indian troops.

“India is preparing ground to abolish Article 35-A of its Constitution as a first step, followed by the revocation of Article 370,” he wrote, adding that Pakistan has consistently opposed any steps to “alter the demographic structure” of Kashmir.

After UNSC meeting, the foreign minister, in a parallel 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”.

He invited international human rights bodies to visit the portion of Kashmir within Pakistan. “We will not stand as an obstacle in the path of such organisations. We will give them full access,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the Narendra Modi-led India’s fascist tactics in occupied Kashmir will “fail miserably” to smother the Kashmiri freedom struggle.

In a series of tweets, the premier warned Modi that a nation that does not fear death cannot be stopped from achieving its goal.

“The fascist, Hindu Supremacist Modi Govt should know that while armies, militants & terrorists can be defeated by superior forces; history tells us that when a nation unites in a freedom struggle & does not fear death, no force can stop it from achieving its goal,” the prime minister wrote.

Prime Minister Imran, who has likened Modi’s fascism to the Nazi era, earlier warned the international community that its silence on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Indian-occupied Kashmir would lead to severe repercussions in the Muslim world.

Earlier, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said the country’s military will “go to any extent” to support people in the contested Kashmir region, after arch rival India revoked special status in its portion of the territory.

“Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end,” said General Qamar Javed Bajwa after meeting with top commanders in Rawalpindi. “We are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations in this regard,” he added, without elaborating further.