• FM says Islamabad and Beijing will maintain close liaison at United Nations
• Iranian armed forces chief calls Bajwa, urges peaceful resolution of conflict

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has begun preparations for taking the Indian annexation of Jammu and Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council on the grounds that the move is threatening peace and stability in the region.

Days after the Indian move to end autonomous status of the region, the National Security Committee had decided that the matter would be taken up with the Security Council. However, a formal process began after Pakistan got assurance of support from China.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi visited Beijing on Friday to solicit Chinese support at the Security Council. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during his meeting with Mr Qureshi, said: “China will continue to support Pakistan in safeguarding its legitimate rights and interests and uphold justice for Pakistan on the international arena.”

Mr Qureshi, speaking at a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday, said it was decided during the meeting with FM Wang that Chinese permanent representative at the United Nations in New York would maintain close liaison with the Pakistani envoy and the foreign ministries of both countries would nominate focal persons to coordinate on the developing situation.

Mr Qureshi said that following the unilateral Indian action there was increased threat to peace and stability.

A consultative process involving former foreign secretaries has also been initiated at the Foreign Office (FO) and Pakistan’s former permanent representative at UN Munir Akram is part of the discussions.

Mr Qureshi said that in view of the evolving situation it was very important to discuss the way in which the Security Council had to be approached and which options had to be used. “It is a very technical matter and not limited to making a statement. We have to decide which way to go and what to avoid,” he said about the consultative meeting at the FO.

Later, Foreign Minister Qureshi met Prime Minister Imran Khan to brief him about his visit to China and “seek his advice on how to proceed further”.

Mr Qureshi said that other options, including raising the issue of human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council, were also being discussed as there were fears that India could intensify its oppression of the Kashmiris in the Valley.

Referring to reports about protests in Srinagar on Friday during a break in curfew, which is now in its sixth day, and violations of the curfew by the Kashmiris, he said there was little clarity about the extent of the crackdown for quelling those protests. Initial reports, he said, suggested that there had been casualties on a large scale, but because of the ‘iron curtain thrown around the Valley’ the details were not known.

Iran military concerned

Meanwhile, Iranian armed forces chief Maj Gen Mohammad Hossein Baqeri called Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to express his concerns about the developments in India-held Kashmir in view of its annexation by India.

Gen Baqeri told Gen Bajwa that Iran was very concerned about ongoing developments in Kashmir.

He emphasised the need for peaceful resolution of the conflict. “Military approaches will further complicate the situation,” he maintained and asked for heeding to public sentiments.

Gen Baqeri hoped that rights of Muslim population of Kashmir would be ensured through political efforts and feelings of the Muslim nations would not hurt.

Pak-Iran border security was also discussed during the conversation.

Gen Bajwa was quoted by IRNA, official Iranian newswire, as having said: “We will spare no efforts to turn the two sides borders to the borders of peace, friendship and calmness.”

Besides, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser spoke to his Iranian counterpart Dr Ali Larijani and apprised him about the developments in India-held Kashmir.

Dr Larijani said Iran wanted solution of Kashmir dispute according to the UN resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people. He supported the people of Kashmir in their just struggle for securing right to self-determination.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2019