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Russia asks Pakistan to bilaterally resolve Kashmir dispute with India

Updated August 15, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order. — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Russia on Wednesday asked Pakistan to bilaterally resolve its dispute with India over Occupied Kashmir.

This message was given to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi when he telephoned his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to apprise him of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India after the latter revoked autonomous status of the occupied territory through a presidential order. Mr Qureshi’s outreach was part of the diplomatic efforts aimed at garnering support at the United Nations Security Council, whose president has been requested by Pakistan to convene an emergency session for deliberating on the escalation in the situation after the Indian move.

Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council. Although there has lately been improvement in relations between Moscow and Islamabad because of regional developments, Russia still remains a strong Indian ally and had supported Indian position after it annexed Occupied Kashmir last week.

According to a statement issued by the Russian foreign ministry, Mr Lavrov, during the conversation, “emphasised the need to de-escalate tensions and to have no alternative to resolving differences between Pakistan and India on a bilateral basis by political and diplomatic means”.

The Russian foreign ministry further noted that its envoy at the UN would be guided by “this consistent position” and will “adhere to it” when the discussion on the Pakistani letter to the Security Council starts.

Indian diplomat summoned to FO to receive protest over ceasefire violation along LoC

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office said in a statement that Mr Qureshi told Mr Lavrov that “Indian actions entailed grave risks for peace and security.” The foreign minister alerted Mr Lavrov about the possibility of a ‘false flag’ operation by India in Occupied Kashmir for implicating Pakistan. Such an incident, if it happened, would “further endanger peace and security in the region”, Mr Qureshi warned.

He also reminded the Russian FM of the situation in held Kashmir that has been under a curfew the for last 10 days with restrictions placed on communications. The Kashmiris, he said, were now facing “intensified repression” at the hands of security forces.

“The two leaders agreed to continue to work together for peace and stability in the region,” the FO said.

Indian diplomat

Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned to the Foreign Office to receive a protest over a ceasefire violation incident at the Line of Control (LoC) on Aug 13 in which a civilian was martyred. The violation occurred in Hot Spring Sector in which Sarfaraz Ahmad, son of Riaz Ahmad (38), resident of Laychayal village, lost his life.

“The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws. The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” the FO said.

Letter to UNSC chief

The text of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s letter to the United Nations Security Council president, released by the FO on Wednesday, reveals Mr Qureshi has not only raised the issue of deployment of additional troops in Occupied Kashmir and escalation of violations of the 2003 ceasefire understanding along the LoC, but has also noted that the false propaganda in India’s controlled media claiming that terrorists are ready to enter Occupied Kashmir indicates India’s intentions.

“There is.... a clear and present danger that India will provoke another conflict with Pakistan to divert attention from its recent actions in occupied Jammu & Kashmir,” the letter reads.

The FM has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council under the agenda of ‘India-Pakistan question’ to consider the situation arising from the recent aggressive actions by India.

Iftikhar A. Khan from Islamabad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019