MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or any other country had the right to maintain bilateral relations with countries of their choice.
“International relations are above religious sentiments. The UAE and India have a history of relations in connection with investment. However, I will soon have a meeting with the UAE foreign minister to inform him about the prevailing situation in India-held Kashmir,” he said while responding to media queries regarding the grant of the UAE’s highest civilian award to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The minister said the US was ready to play the role of a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue, but India was not ready to accept the US mediation.
He said India’s supreme court should decide seven petitions (against abolition of special status of Kashmir) without bowing to pressure exerted by Mr Modi.
“If the Indian supreme court delays its decisions on the Kashmir issue, it would be the murder of justice and violation of basic human rights,” he said.
Calls for meeting of international HR groups and heads of Muslim countries on Kashmir
“The world cannot remain unconcerned over the Kashmir issue and the UN Commission for Human Rights should visit India-held Kashmir without delay.”
Mr Qureshi said he had written a letter to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights asking it to send its representatives to occupied Kashmir to observe the situation there and play its role over the violation of human rights. “We also invite the commission to Azad Kashmir.”
A meeting of representatives of international human rights organisations and heads of Muslim countries should also be held to exchange views on (the situation in) occupied Kashmir, Mr Qureshi stressed.
He claimed that after a huge army deployment in held Kashmir, India was now planning to send workers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh there, calling upon the international community top wake up to New Delhi’s designs.
The foreign minister said he would attend a meeting on human rights in Geneva on Sept 9 and inform the world about the atrocities in Kashmir.
He said that the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the heads of Muslim countries should take note of mosque shutdown in held Kashmir. “Kashmiri Muslims are not allowed to offer Juma prayer and earlier they were also not allowed to sacrifice animals on Eidul Azha.”
Although India was trying to change ground realties, the entire world had acknowledged that Kashmir was a disputed region and India’s act of revoking the special status was unconstitutional and a violation of UN resolutions,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi observed.
He said the UN Security Council held rejected India’s stance on the Kashmir question.
“Right now Turkey, Malaysia and all Islamic countries are supporting the Pakistan’s stance. The Iranian leadership has also taken a firm stand in favour of Kashmiri people. So far I have contacted foreign ministers of several Islamic countries and am getting in touch with remaining ones as well. I am hopeful the Muslim world will support the Kashmiris and play its role to end Indian atrocities there,” he said.
Stopping a delegation of opposition leaders from entering Kashmir was a chauvinist act of the Modi government and it had exposed the reality behind the facade of democracy in India.
“If nothing wrong is being done in Kashmir, why the government stopped the Indian politicians from going there? Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has asked if there is nothing to hide, why roads have been blocked there,” he said.
The foreign minister said the Modi government’s August 5 action had divided opinion in India and provided an opportunity to the Pakistani nation to unite.
He said despite tensions with India, he would like to assure the Sikh community the Kartarpur corridor would be opened on Sept 11. “We will welcome the Indian Sikhs. There are no restrictions on Sikh and Hindu communities in Pakistan and all religious minorities are free to perform their religious rites,” he said.
Mr Qureshi said he and Prime Minister Imran Khan would go to Umarkot on Aug 31 and inform the Hindu community about atrocities in India-held Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2019