India's rejection of UN chief's mediation offer shows it is avoiding resolution of issues: Qureshi

18 Feb 2020

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to reporters after the conclusion of a conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — Photo Courtesy Radio Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to reporters after the conclusion of a conference in Islamabad on Tuesday. — Photo Courtesy Radio Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said that Pakistan welcomes the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres' offer of mediation to resolve outstanding issues between Pakistan and India, Radio Pakistan reported.

Speaking to media in Islamabad, the foreign minister added that the Indian reaction to the UN chief's offer shows that India is avoiding resolution of outstanding issues.

On Sunday, the UN chief had offered his role as a mediator for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and said that his good offices could be used for this purpose. Talking about Pakistan-India relations, Guterres had stressed the need for de-escalation, both militarily and verbally.

Guterres had said that good offices only work when accepted by both sides. “Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council,” he had said, adding that he had repeatedly “reiterated my offer to exercise my good offices should both sides ask”.

However, India had on Monday rejected the UN chief's offer for mediation, with the spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs saying that, "The issue of [Jammu and Kashmir] that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan."

He added that "further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation."

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in a press conference highlighted the disparity in the ways in which Pakistan and India treat their minority populations.

Govt spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV
Govt spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV

The SAPM spoke of the way "people stood for justice against India's Citizenship Amendment Act throughout the country" and "the way their goli-lathi (bullets-baton) government is trying to crush their stance".

She said that the UN secretary general had surely "analysed the steps of both states and governments. It is an eye-opener for him and his delegation ... the way the Pakistani government has kept its minorities close to its heart and become the guarantor of their rights, ensuring their religious, constitutional and legal freedoms."

On the other hand, she said, the Indian government is "making fun of UN resolutions" and disrespecting humanity by keeping occupied Kashmir under curfew.

"It is time now that the world, especially the people of Pakistan and innocent Kashmiris, want to see the United Nations take practical steps ... we expect that his words and his concerns will be converted into practical steps," she said, adding that the government hopes this tour will prove helpful for those seeking justice.

Awan said that the government is thankful to Guterres for bringing to light the positive side of the country and for "marketing the real introduction" of Pakistan to the world.

In her press conference, the SAPM also said that Pakistanis are not only connected to Afghans through physical borders but that "our hearts are also joined ... we have a similar culture; we have a historic mental harmony."

She added that it is time to recognise the steps Pakistan has taken to provide a peaceful country to Afghan refugees, following which the Afghan migrants' role in Pakistan's progress and prosperity will become apparent.