Zarif reaffirms Iran's support for Kashmiris as Pakistan continues diplomatic push to highlight issue

Published September 3, 2019
In this August 2018 file photo, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi receives Iran FM Javad Zarif in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. — FO/File
In this August 2018 file photo, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi receives Iran FM Javad Zarif in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. — FO/File

As part of the government's push to highlight the suffering of the Kashmiri people — who have been enduring a strict lockdown in occupied Kashmir since the Indian government took away their special autonomy last month — Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday called his Iranian, Turkish and Bangladeshi counterparts to discuss the situation in the restive region.

The minister briefed each of his counterparts on the "illegal and unilateral actions" taken by India to alter occupied Kashmir's disputed status, underlining that the measures taken "posed threats to peace and stability in the region".

Speaking about the worsening human rights situation, Qureshi informed them that the complete lockdown in the valley has now entered its fifth week, resulting in immense suffering as people are unable to access hospitals, medicines and food supplies.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reiterated his country's concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in occupied Kashmir and reaffirmed support for the Kashmiri people, a statement released by the Foreign Office said.

Earlier in August, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, during a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan, had expressed concern over the "atrocities and killing of innocent people in occupied Jammu and Kashmir".

In his conversation with Zarif, Qureshi said that India's actions constitute "violations of the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions, international law and India’s own commitments".

Highlighting the gravity of the situation, the foreign minister said that the situation demands "complete lifting of the curfew, removal of restrictions on movement, peaceful assembly, provision of food and medical supplies and release of political prisoners", according to the FO statement.

Qureshi expressed his gratitude to the Iranian leadership and the people of Iran "for supporting [the] suppressed people" of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Zarif "appreciated the detailed briefing" and both ministers agreed to remain engaged as the situation evolves, said the FO handout.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dr A. K. Abdul Momen while speaking to Foreign Minister Qureshi "emphasised the importance of resolving disputes through dialogue and discussions", a separate statement by the FO said.

Both ministers agreed to remain in contact regarding the matter, it added.

While speaking to his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign minister stressed that the people of occupied Kashmir "are looking towards international community especially the Muslim world" to play their part in the conflict's resolution, Radio Pakistan reported.

He conveyed his thanks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for raising his voice in support of Kashmiris and lauded Turkey's efforts for Muslim unity.

Both foreign ministers agreed "to continue bilateral consultations and to meet on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly and OIC meetings", according to the state-run radio service.

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