ISLAMABAD: (from left) Chairman of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Fakhar Imam, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, director general of the ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor and Special Assistant to the PM Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing a press conference at the foreign ministry on Saturday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
ISLAMABAD: (from left) Chairman of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Fakhar Imam, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, director general of the ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor and Special Assistant to the PM Firdous Ashiq Awan addressing a press conference at the foreign ministry on Saturday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: A special Kashmir Cell is being set up at the Foreign Office with desks on the issue at key Pakistani missions abroad to intensify the diplomatic push in support of the Kashmir cause.

The decision was taken at the first meeting of the committee constituted by the prime minister to discuss and recommend policy options for the government in legal, political, and diplomatic domains for enhancing support of the Kashmir cause.

The committee is headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

UNSC meeting termed setback for India; ISPR chief urges world to take notice of Rajnath’s remarks

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Mr Qureshi, who was accompanied by chairman of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Fakhar Imam, Special Assistant to the PM Firdous Ashiq Awan, Director General South Asia at Foreign Office Dr Muhammad Faisal and military spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, said instructions had been issued for the creation of Kashmir Cell.

Kashmir desks would also be created in Pakistani missions and focal persons would be designated to coordinate the effort.

The foreign minister alerted the world to the possibility of a ‘false flag’ operation in occupied Kashmir by India to implicate Pakistan and altering the changing international environment that is seemingly more favourable to Kashmir issue than ever before.

It should be recalled that the UN Security Council at an urgent meeting held informal discussions on Friday in which it expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in India-held Kashmir and called on the parties to the conflict to refrain from taking unilateral steps that could further escalate the situation.

Pakistan celebrated the UNSC meeting on Kash­mir, which happened after a break of around 54 years, as a major diplomatic success.

Mr Qureshi said the Security Council’s meeting was a diplomatic setback for India, which made all efforts to prevent the session from happening. He said the diplomatic effort in support of the Kashmir cause was a continuing process and will be fought at all fronts.

The foreign minister warned of major protests in the Valley once Indian occupation forces relaxed curfew there, which is now in its 12th day. Restrictions have also been placed on communications.

He mentioned the OIC statement on the disputed territory. “The OIC and UNSC have both responded positively to Pakistan’s call for the Kashmir issue to be taken up. The OIC has called for an immediate end to the curfew in occupied Kashmir,” he said.

About the possibility of taking up the matter at the International Court of Justice, the foreign minister said the law ministry and the attorney general had been asked to explore the option.

Inter-Services Public Relations director general Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the Valley because of unprecedented restrictions on communications, curfew and human rights abuses had been turned into a prison by the Indian occupation forces.

He dismissed as baseless the Indian claims that infiltrations across the Line of Control were taking place from Pakistan. He said this propaganda was being done to prepare the grounds for a ‘false flag’ operation.

He said Pakistan’s armed forces were fully ready for defence of the homeland and giving a befitting response to any aggression.

Asked for his reaction on Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement hinting at a change in India’s No-First-Use policy, the military spokesman said that sane nations do not talk in this way. He said it was for the world to take notice of the Indian defence minister’s irresponsible statement.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2019