FM sees risk of ‘accidental war’ over occupied Kashmir

Published September 12, 2019
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has warned that the situation in India-held Kashmir risks sparking an “accidental war”, and urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the troubled region. — DawnNewsTV/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has warned that the situation in India-held Kashmir risks sparking an “accidental war”, and urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the troubled region. — DawnNewsTV/File

GENEVA: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has warned that the situation in India-held Kashmir risks sparking an “accidental war”, and urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to visit the troubled region.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session here on Wednesday, Mr Qureshi said he believed both Pakistan and India “understand the consequences of a conflict”. But with tensions soaring since New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy last month, he warned that “you cannot rule out an accidental war”. “If the situation persists ... then anything is possible,” he said.

India had imposed a military clampdown on held Kashmir on Aug 5 to prevent unrest as New Delhi revoked the disputed region’s autonomy. Mobile phone networks and internet are still cut off in all but a few pockets.

Mr Qureshi, who on Tuesday appealed to the Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the situation in India-held Kashmir, told reporters that he had spoken with Ms Bachelet and invited her to visit both the Indian and Pakistani parts of the region.

“She should visit both places and report as objectively as she can so that the world knows what the true... situation is,” he added.

According to foreign minister, Ms Bachelet had said she “was keen to visit”.

Her office could not immediately be reached for confirmation.

Mr Qureshi, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of bilateral talks to resolve the tensions. “In this environment and with the mindset that we see in New Delhi today, I do not see any room for a bilateral engagement,” he said, adding that a multilateral forum or a third-party mediator would likely be needed. “If the US plays a role, that can be important because they have a considerable influence” in the region, he said.

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the council to constitute a commission of inquiry for investigation into human rights violations in India-held Kashmir, reminding the council that if India had nothing to hide it should allow unhindered access to the commission, international media and human rights organisations.

He said the people of the occupied valley were suffering systematic and serial violations of their fundamental freedoms. “The forlorn, traumatised towns, mountains, plains and valleys of Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir reverberate today, with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2019

Opinion

Quest for truth
18 Jun 2021

Quest for truth

News travels quickly and without any editorial checks.
Controversial poll reforms
Updated 17 Jun 2021

Controversial poll reforms

If govt doesn’t engage opposition in dialogue, its last two years may be spent in dealing with a controversy over electoral laws.

Editorial

Poll bill reservations
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Poll bill reservations

Reforming the electoral process is vital for Pakistan, and doing so by taking everyone on board is equally important.
18 Jun 2021

E-fund transfer fee

THE State Bank’s decision to withdraw the facility of free of cost digital fund transfer services is disappointing...
18 Jun 2021

Gaza bombed again

MEMORIES of last month’s savage assault by Israel targeting Gaza had not yet faded when earlier this week news...
Shameful behaviour
17 Jun 2021

Shameful behaviour

Both opposition and treasury members should create space for opinions to be heard and aired.
17 Jun 2021

Sindh budget

A CURSORY reading of the Sindh budget 2021-22 reinforces the impression that Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s...
17 Jun 2021

West on China

IN what seems like a distinct return to Cold War rhetoric, the Western bloc has issued back-to-back statements...