MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says work on the Kartarpur Corridor will continue as scheduled.

Speaking to the media here on Sunday, he claimed that the entire world, particularly the Sikh community, appreciated the project. “We stand by our promise and the project will continue,” he said.

He said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “laid to rest the Hindustan of Gandhi and Nehru on Aug 5.” He said that owing to the policies of the Modi government, the minorities in India especially Muslims were considering themselves highly insecure.

“Voices against Indian government’s actions in Kashmir are being raised from within India. Congress party’s leadership has rejected the actions of Aug 5 taken by the Modi government. Caretaker of Ajmer Sharif says they (Muslims of India) are feeling insecure,” he said.

He said the issue of Kashmir was discussed in the United Nations Security Council after 54 years. The issue was highlighted when nuclear test took place but not as forcefully as it had been discussed now, he said.

“India took two-point stand. First, why Pakistan is raising objection to changing the constitutional status of Kashmir by the Indian government and second, whatever steps have been taken are for the betterment and welfare of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. My point of view was that the Kashmir is a disputed area and on the agenda of the UN and there are 11 resolutions and its the responsibility of the UN to have these implemented,” he said.

He said the UN secretary general also stated that he considered the Kashmir issue a disputed one and it should be resolved according to the resolutions passed by the UN, which is a great achievement of Pakistan.

He said there were three parties to the Kashmir dispute out of which two were hit by the decisions taken by the third one. He said Pakistan did not shy away from dialogue.

“The UNSC should tell us with whom we should initiate talks,” he said.

He said 13 days had passed but curfew was still imposed in Kashmir and the Line of Control was being violated.

“Our soldiers are being martyred but Pakistan is showing restraint,” he said.

He said today everyone is saying that untold atrocities are being committed by India in Kashmir and the entire world including the Muslim countries are demanding that India should lift the curfew there. He said the international and Pakistani media was playing a positive role over the issue.

He said the Modi government had been exposed before the world. He said the third generation of Kashmiris had been involved in the struggle for their right of self-determination. He said the Indian government should conduct referendum in Kashmir after lifting the curfew and the situation would be clear as to what the people of Kashmir want.

“Even the people like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who formed the government with the help of India in Kashmir have turned against India,” he said. He said there was a danger that India could try to repeat a Pulwama-like operation.

He said Pakistan needed the support of the Muslims all over the world on the Kashmir issue and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had demanded that India lifted the curfew in Kashmir.

Answering a question whether the 34-country military alliance would play any role on Kashmir, the foreign minister said the alliance had its own objectives and he was not in a position to talk about it right now. He said the Kashmir issue was not a one-day match rather it was a test match and hopefully Pakistan would succeed in it. He said a meeting was held at foreign office on Saturday to discuss the situation after the UNSC meeting. It discussed the strategy for Pakistan to move forward on diplomatic, political and legal front.

“A report in this regard will be presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.

He said there should be no politics on the Kashmir issue.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2019