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US to stay neutral as Pakistan, India prepare for UN showdown

Updated Sep 19, 2016 04:49pm


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WASHINGTON: As Pakistan prepares to highlight the current situation in India-held Kashmir at the UN General Assembly and India plans to counter it by raising the Baloch issue, the United States has made it clear that it will not back either side.

“What we have said — nothing is changed about our view that we want to see India and Pakistan work this out bilaterally,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby when asked to define the US policy on Kashmir.

The US was one of the co-sponsors of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 that calls for “a free and impartial plebiscite” in Jammu and Kashmir on the question of its accession to India or Pakistan. But since then, it has slightly changed its position and for the past several decades calls for bilateral talks between the two countries for resolving this dispute. Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia and Britain were the other sponsors of the resolution that the UN Security Council adopted at its 286th meeting on April 21, 1948.

When asked how he viewed Pakistan’s efforts to raise the issue at international forums, Mr Kirby said: “That’s for them to speak to.”

A popular uprising in the Kashmir valley this summer has once again highlighted the issue as about 100 people have already been killed and almost 10,000 injured in clashes with Indian security forces.

The killings forced UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein to declare that an international probe into Kashmir killings was imperative now.

Amnesty International also asked India to let its representatives visit the valley to assess the situation but instead of allowing it to do so, Karnataka police based on a complaint filed by ABVP registered a sedition case against the rights group.

In Islamabad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that Pakistan would ‘forcefully’ raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also said that he would raise the Kashmir issue in his address, urging the international community to live up to their promise of the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir.

Mr Sharif, who arrives in New York on Sunday, has appointed 20 special envoys to travel across the globe for drawing attention to the situation in Kashmir.

Two senior envoys — Senator Mushahid Hussain and AJK Pre­si­dent Masood Khan — are coming to Washington early next month to raise the issue with US leaders and at American think-tanks.

India plans to counter Pakistan’s efforts by raising the Baloch issue at the UN and other world forums, arguing that the Baloch are also seeking independence from Pakistan and deserve international support.

India is also backing efforts of some Baloch activists to hold a demonstration outside the UN headquarters during the prime minister’s speech.

Both Pakistan and India are trying to persuade the US to support their positions. The US, however, appears to have decided not to take sides.

Mr Kirby’s stance that the Kashmir dispute should be settled bilaterally between Pakistan and India is apparently a damper for Pakistan’s efforts to persuade other nations to condemn Indian atrocities in the Kashmir valley.

But his statement on Balochistan, at an earlier briefing, was equally, if not more, disappointing for India. He declared unequivocally that “the US government respects the unity and territorial integrity of Pakistan and we do not support independence for Balochistan”.

At Friday’s briefing, the State Department spokesman also ignored efforts to make him condemn the ongoing paramilitary operations in Karachi, but did convey US concern over the situation.

“We’re monitoring those events very closely,” said Mr Kirby when asked what the US assessment was of the Karachi situation.

“We’re aware that Pakistani security forces have arrested some MQM members allegedly involved in violent protests and that these operations have included the closure and demolition of offices deemed to have been illegally constructed,” he said. “But I’m going to refer you to the government of Pakistan for the latest information about these events.”

Asked if the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had shared its assessment of the situation in Karachi with the State Department, Mr Kirby said: “I’m not aware that there had been specific concerns relayed to us by members of the MQM.”

“But have you spoken to the Pakistani officials on this?” asked the reporter.

“We routinely communicate with our Pakistani counterparts about issues like this,” the US official replied.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said a sedition case was filed against Amnesty International by an Indian court. The error is regretted.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2016


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Comments (78) Closed

gaurav Sep 18, 2016 08:13am

it will not back either side indirectly gives you the statement "its a bilateral issue" hahahaha

pehchankaun Sep 18, 2016 08:17am

Back to square one

Manoj Sep 18, 2016 08:37am

Nobody will pay attention to indo pak high octane drama in UN..things will go as usual. . And leaders stunt is flop..

Harvard Sep 18, 2016 08:38am

US has always maintained a balance in it's foreign policy as far as Pakistan India disputes are concerned,but never hesitated to spell concern & displeasure if any human rights violations came into light.India have great obligation to demonstrate in front of world,as to how it's coping with the Kashmiris agitation demanding right of self determination,the area is disputed that's why UN observers deployed at LOC. India must talk to Kashmiris first,and agree to a road map,later Pakistan can join the process to the peaceful logical end. Almost 70 years have lapsed,a brand new generation of young Kashmiris have stood up for their rights,and the resolution of Kashmir is most vital for international community to maintain peace in S.Asia.

Rakesh Jain Sep 18, 2016 08:39am

“What we have said — nothing is changed about our view that we want to see India and Pakistan work this out bilaterally,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby. .... And this is what India has been saying that this issue is bilateral. So, is US staying neutral ????

N_Saq Sep 18, 2016 08:39am

Amazing! I guess US holds all the cards here.

I think it must be so embarrassing for the citizens of the both countries because they must be thinking are we truly independent. I mean indirectly US rules both countries. Sad.

Both countries need to grow up and realize that they are just pawns in the grand scheme of things. As usual they are being used and abused by the super powers for their ulterior motives.

When will the citizens of both the countries will wake up and say enough is enough and break the chains of slavery?

TheBest Sep 18, 2016 08:41am

Pakistan is so much hype about nawaaz speech in UN. Rest assure that nothing gonna change. Kashmir is a part and always be a integral part of India.

NORI Sep 18, 2016 08:46am

Did some one miss the word 'bilaterally' in John Kirby's statement when deciding on the headline ? That means - no outside interference and supports Indian stand.

stirfries Sep 18, 2016 08:49am

So now what? Pakistan will keep raising this issue at various forums like UN with no other country backing it? How long this could sustain? Seriously guys, this is not going to move us forward ! both countries need to get off their high horses and see the reality as is. Fact # 1 - Pakistan is not going to achieve anything productive by raising this issue at different forums. Fact # 2 - India is too big a country to cave down easily and bow down to political pressure. They will deploy another million troops in Kashmir and will wait it out. They have the resources to do that.

Jumz Sep 18, 2016 08:52am

No oil there for us to take sides :)

Shetkar Sep 18, 2016 08:57am

UNSC resolution on kashmir

The resolution recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals who entered the region for the purpose of fighting and that India leave only the minimum number of troops needed to keep civil order. The Commission was also to send as many observers into the region as it deemed necessary to ensure the provisions of the resolution were enacted. Pakistan ignored the UN mandate, did not withdraw its troops and claimed the withdrawal of Indian forces was a prerequisite as per this resolution. Subsequently Pakistan refused to implement the plebiscite until India accedes to it and continued holding on to the portion of Kashmir under its control

Hussain Sep 18, 2016 09:00am

Americans hypocrisy at their best.

Sami Qureshi Sep 18, 2016 09:01am

America maintained its neutrality throughout the presidentship of Obama. Apparently it was so but she followed the worst type of diplomatic jingoism during this period that brought the Northern Africa, ME, Eastern Europe and the South Pacific region under constant threat of wars and conflicts. It were whether the refugee crisis, Ukrainian episode, Libyan and Syrian civil wars or the tug of war on the islands of the South Pacific Sea, America played the prime role to heighten the miseries to the world whereas they always claimed to play the role of a neutral and peaceful Super Power.

hitesh Sep 18, 2016 09:01am

Special envoy to Switzerland did not get an appointment to meet anyone from swiss govt...

Kamal Sep 18, 2016 09:01am

He should come and repeat this line as first thing in press conference without anybody asking any question regarding this. C'on man he repeats the same sentence daily but it's still a headline.

Javed Sep 18, 2016 09:10am

If you don't stand for justice, you are not neutral, you are with the bully.

point of view Sep 18, 2016 09:25am

Good strategy of US, supporting neither party. Let India, Pakistan present their case and let world community react.

point of view Sep 18, 2016 09:28am

I think, address to UN assembly would the highest boiling point of both countries. Later both will cool down and revisit their strategy based on outcome. By the way, India is just reacting to what Pakistan is doing.

Deepak Sep 18, 2016 09:30am

Best thing for India is to get rid of J&K, we spend train load of money on people who don't want to remain Indians.

dee Sep 18, 2016 09:31am

No One is interested in your Old story, They only wants business.

Vaibhav Sep 18, 2016 09:31am

Its a complex game now. Lets decide now before the game begin as the objective outcome that should decide the winner.

For Pakistan: 1. Getting major criticism for India and it policies from some major power, or 2. Getting a resolution to make india consider the plebiscite or something more progressive on that line.

For India: 1. Status Quo with no major backing for pakistani stance 2. Same old adage from other countries"Both nation should work together to resolve"

Stakes for Pakistan are very high as it is putting enormous effort to escalate it to another level. Status Quo will be big blow to pak as it is at advantage being backed by China and Kashmir uprising while US has sided himself leaving India all alone.

Let see how Mr. Sharif defend this cause and Mr. Modi play it.


auginpk Sep 18, 2016 09:30am

The more USA disengages itself from the subcontinent the more more neutral it is more likely to become and more more dictated by its commercial interest.

Good going.

Zak Sep 18, 2016 09:32am

Rising clout of Pakistanis and citizens from other Islamic nations in US will not allow US to stay neutral for long.

Amir Sep 18, 2016 09:37am

Good..US should stay out of it...

Raaz Sep 18, 2016 09:35am

Pakistan needs to first withdraw all its troops from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir for plebiscite. Pakistan changed the demography of kashmir, so the pre-requsities have never being met, so pakistan should not cry about UN resolution. Moreover, the resolution is Under Chapter VI (not binding) on India.

JAAN-BHITTANI Sep 18, 2016 09:47am

The fact is that USA was never 'NEUTRAL' on any issue in the world.

Amir k Sep 18, 2016 09:48am

Grab your popcorn everyone we are in for one heck of a ride.

KN Sep 18, 2016 09:49am

Ok. Next show please

Raaz Sep 18, 2016 09:52am

This article by comparing USA's neutral position on both Kashmir and Baloch issues implicitly equates Kashmir and Balochistan.

Counterpoint Sep 18, 2016 10:00am

Thateans nothing's going to change. Noatter what Pakistan does. Now let's see if Baluchistan gets internationalized.

Samir Lone Sep 18, 2016 10:01am

Best of luck to Pakistani Mission at UN. We Kashmiris are very grateful for Pakistan's support and principled stance on the issue against Indian tyranny and genocide of our people.

Hush Sep 18, 2016 10:03am

Hahaha... USA has got the power, brain, money, military, influence, style and what not except the right intentions.

Shan Sep 18, 2016 10:06am

No body is going to interfere in Kashmir issue. It is upto India and Pakistan how to resolve it.

Warshah Sep 18, 2016 10:09am

India don't need Support from anyone. We know what and how to do.

sabakarim Sep 18, 2016 10:10am

Pakistan should continue its efforts to built pressure upon India for the peaceful resolution of IOK. India is a brutal state and can not hide the killing of innocent Kashmiris under the carpet of terror.

Last Word Sep 18, 2016 10:12am

Whatever US spokesperson says it will only back India, though indirectly.

wellwisher Sep 18, 2016 10:13am

everybody enjoys India Pakistan match---at UN

Hope. Sep 18, 2016 10:12am

India has every thing to loose at UN, hopeless efforts to blame everything on Pakistan has failed. US is " neutral " , China is in Pakistan's corner, Russia is already wary of close Indo-US ties.

Only if India learn to live in peace and respect smaller neighbors she will be never ashamed like this.

Hope. Sep 18, 2016 10:14am

India has every thing to loose at UN, hopeless efforts to blame everything on Pakistan has failed. US is " neutral " , China is in Pakistan's corner, Russia is already wary of close Indo-US ties.

Only if India learn to live in peace and respect smaller neighbors she will be never ashamed like this.

ABCD Sep 18, 2016 10:15am

Let US be neutral, other things both countries will take care. This situation will end with a natural death.

Nav Sep 18, 2016 10:19am

India says Kashmir is a bilateral issue, where as Pakistan says It is an multilateral issue and UN should be involved. Looking at the 2nd paragraph - US is supporting Indian stand on Kashmir.

Shyam Sep 18, 2016 10:21am

"but instead of allowing it to do so, an Indian court registered a sedition case against the rights group". That is a malicious lie as the sedition case was registered for Anti-India slogan at their meet.

Muniz akram Sep 18, 2016 10:25am

There are no atrocities in Kashmir only self defense by the forces against people throwing stones.

komberi Sep 18, 2016 10:23am

Indian will not like to give up the territory under its control so will be Pakistan. It is a waste of time to pressure each other when the respective nationalism have their upper hands. The easy solution is to make the line of control as the International border and to ease the travel restrictions for Kashmir people so they can move freely on both side of the border. Any adventurism on either side will not solve but further aggravate the problem.

Rakesh Jain Sep 18, 2016 10:29am

India wants the whole world to stay Neutral on Kashmir as it is purely internal matter... so is it really wise to understand that US is Neutral on the Issue ???

Daanish Sep 18, 2016 10:33am

US is never trust worthy.

Sachin Sep 18, 2016 10:48am

Is gaining USA support gurantee to victory? lol...

GaleForce Sep 18, 2016 10:50am

That just means they are supporting India by not supporting Pakistan.

Get Real Sep 18, 2016 10:53am

All this is only for domestic audience and TV debates. And diversion from other issues like corruption. If nothing is going to change...why waste time on this? It doesn't make a difference even to India.

Shaitaan Sep 18, 2016 10:53am

Well done Modi...Pakis Kashmir card already consigned to the bin...NaMo NaMo...

asif Sep 18, 2016 10:56am

They must be laughing and happy.

Hindu Sep 18, 2016 10:56am

We don't care . All the best NS for Coming Pak Election . Good home work Nawaz !!! Go Nawaz Go ;)

Khan Sep 18, 2016 11:39am

Pakistan needs a giant like late Sir Zafarullah Khan at the international forum to revive and solve the problem. How many of the readers know that it was the person of Zafaullah Khan who carved the much talked about resolution on Kashmir?

Ganesh Sep 18, 2016 12:58pm

All the best for both sides

Dr.Sadaf Sep 18, 2016 01:03pm

@Hush , if half the world had the right intentions in addition to all the other blessings that you have counted then this world would have been a much safer place to live, but you know, if these leaders start having good intentions then their will be nothing left for them to do, in other words they would be jobless.

Lafanga Sep 18, 2016 01:34pm

US as usual is being vague and will not take position on Kashmir and Baluchistan. It needs India and Pakistan for various reasons. Best to try and convince other members in EU who are more open about human rights abuses in IHK.

Harmony-1© Sep 18, 2016 02:32pm

@Counterpoint - By the same token why not "internationalise" unrelenting repression unleashed by the India in many of its states?

KH Sep 18, 2016 03:31pm

@Zak, what clout are you talking about.... Pakistani diaspora in comparison is tiny while GCC Arab clout, including those of KSA is on the decline....

Khwarezmi Sep 18, 2016 04:52pm

I listen to the UN speaches of Pakistan and India. India stood completely exposed to the whole world and has no answers to the gross human right violations in Kashmir, the shutdown of life, the protests of civilians and the killings by Indian forces.

naqeeb Sep 18, 2016 05:42pm

The main problem in Indo-Pak relations is USA

afzalkhan Sep 18, 2016 05:52pm

Mr Kirby said: “That’s for them to speak to.”

Ibrar Sep 18, 2016 06:26pm

@Shetkar BTW, the UN does not accept India's so called and will publicised document of accession. The only solution left is to find a modern day and more applicable version of plebiscite to sort Kashmir out once for all.

Ibrar Sep 18, 2016 06:31pm

@Sami Qureshi In fact America would rather the Kashmir issue remains unresolved and cause of ongoing tension between the two. That will continue to provide America and many others to excercise leverage over both.

Smart Solution Sep 18, 2016 06:58pm

UNO has failed to resolve the Kashmir issue. Where else oppressed people of Kashmir can go to ask for justice against brutal killings by indians?

SB Sep 18, 2016 07:32pm

@hitesh , Really... Denial of appointment speaks position of world. Great diplomacy

N_Saq Sep 18, 2016 07:58pm

@Deepak Finally, I see a saner voice speak up. Kudos to you dear.

abc Sep 18, 2016 10:22pm

@Khwarezmi really ??

Zak Sep 19, 2016 02:07am

@Manoj ...and Both countries will stand on brink of destruction unless IOK is resolved.

mojazze Sep 19, 2016 02:18am

US neutrality claim is not true. US cannot and should not stay neutral on an issue that was decided and voted for resolution in 1949 for a plebiscite in Kashmir for a peaceful resolution.

True Indian Sep 19, 2016 03:05am

This is exactly the essence and spirit of Simla Agreement.

Shabbir Afridi Sep 19, 2016 06:46am

Both countries should have some shame and let this be an excuse to improve themselves to an extent that the UN wags its tail to convince them to participate.

Shahid Sep 19, 2016 07:33am

Sorry to say those nations who are hopeful for their problems to solve through the USA, they definitely are wrong and they have forgotten that it always take its profits from others and when done its work, pull back from there, it is not a reliable state, so we as a nation should have defended our rights ourselves and we should solve our problems own.

tota ram verma Sep 19, 2016 09:04am

@Deepak , it is not as simple as you that no

Something Sep 19, 2016 09:37am

dont worry.. we will work it out now..

D.K. PAMNANI Sep 19, 2016 01:04pm


Sukhi Sukh Sep 19, 2016 09:46pm

@Zak let it be.

flipflop Sep 20, 2016 05:40pm

@Deepak Man here's the thing. Just give Kashmir the power to hold a referendum and let them decide. Don't get rid of them like that. Their actions so far telling you that they do t want to be part but give them the power to decide. I am a Pakistani and I think they should have a say in it and whatever the result I a sure Pakistan will accept it. This will also end the ongoing fights and will resolve other issues.

Axomiya Sep 20, 2016 09:27pm

@Rakesh Jain Right on