Delhi’s bellicosity to endanger peace, warns govt

Updated January 17, 2020

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing the meeting on Kashmir.—PPI
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing the meeting on Kashmir.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: A high-level meeting held on Thursday warned that belligerent rhetoric emanating from Delhi could jeopardise peace in the region and reaffirmed support for the Kashmiris in their struggle for right to self-determination.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting on the situation in occupied Kashmir, which was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Special Assistant to the PM on National Security Dr Moeed Yousaf, Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood and other senior military and civilian officials.

The meeting was held a day after the United Nations Security Council for the second time in five months held informal closed-door discussions on India-held Kashmir. Much like the previous session, the meeting did not yield any outcome, but Islamabad hailed it as a major success.

Prime Minister Khan in a tweet observed that the discussion by the Security Council meant that the Kashmir dispute remained on the agenda of the global body, which recognised the “seriousness of the prevailing situation”.

The meeting expressed similar views on the discussion at UNSC. “The participants welcomed the consideration of Jammu & Kashmir in the Security Council on 15 January 2020 and noted that it reflected the international community’s recognition of the seriousness of the situation,” a statement issued by the PM’ Office (PMO) after the meeting said.

Debate on held Kashmir in UNSC reflects international community’s concern about prevailing situation, tweets PM

The participants discussed the preparations for the Kashmir Day observed on Feb 5 every year to express solidarity with the Kashmiris living under Indian occupation. This year’s Kashmir Day would have added significance because it would be the first such observance since India annexed the valley in Aug 2019. It was decided that the day would be observed in “a befitting manner”.

“The participants condemned India’s inhuman lockdown of 8 million Kashmiris for over 165 days, the egregious human rights violations of Kashmiris by over 900,000 Indian occupation forces,” the PMO said.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s unshakable political, diplomatic and moral support for and solidarity with the Kashmiri people until the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination.

He had earlier tweeted: “J&K dispute must be resolved in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions & the will of the Kashmiri people. We will continue to provide moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people until they secure their inalienable right to self-determination.”

The meeting also discussed the provocative statements recently made by Indian political and military leaders, particularly the new army chief Gen MM Naravane. The corps commanders conference held earlier this week had rejected Gen Naravane’s statements as irresponsible rhetoric and a threat for regional peace.

The participants of the meeting feared that BJP government’s belligerent rhetoric and aggressive actions on the ground posed a threat to peace and security. “It was underlined that the RSS-inspired BJP government’s ‘Hindutva’ mindset, with its anti-Muslim and anti-Kashmiri obsession, was responsible for creating a perilous situation for regional peace and stability,” the PMO said.

FO briefing

Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Aisha Farooqi, commenting on the discussions at the UNSC on Kashmir at the weekly media briefing, said continued international scrutiny would pressure the Modi government to reverse its unilateral measures and end human rights abuses, ceasefire violations and threats against Pakistan.

Thanking the Security Council for discussing the issue, she said the move by China had reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognised dispute and it must be finally settled in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and popular aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Ms Farooqi said the UN’s Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Affairs departments made presentations on the situation at the meeting. “Since, it was a closed session and Pakistan is currently not a member of the UNSC, we do not know the exact debate that took place. However, the fact that the debate took place and lasted that long shows that it was an all-encompassing debate,” she said.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020