PM Imran meets UNGA president-elect, urges UN to play its role in Indian occupied Kashmir

Published August 10, 2020
Prime Minister Imran meets with United Nations General Assembly President-elect Volkan Bozkir on Monday, August 10 in Islamabad. — APP
Prime Minister Imran meets with United Nations General Assembly President-elect Volkan Bozkir on Monday, August 10 in Islamabad. — APP

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday urged the United Nations to play its role in addressing the "grave" situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and to ensure that the people of the valley exercise their right to self-determination as promised under the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The premier expressed these views during a meeting with the United Nations General Assembly President-elect Volkan Bozkir who called on him in Islamabad. Bozkir is currently visiting the capital on a two-day visit to the country on the invitation of the government.

According to a press release by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the premier extended warm felicitations to Bozkir on his election as president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

During the meeting, the premier informed the president-elect about the serious situation in occupied Kashmir, an issue that has been on the UNSC agenda for over seven decades.

"The prime minister highlighted the dire rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir since August 5, 2019, as well as the ongoing gross and systematic violations of human rights and attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory."

The prime minister also informed the president-elect of the government's initiative to mitigate and suppress the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and its focus on saving lives, securing livelihoods and stimulating the economy.

He also informed him that his government had deployed a stimulus package worth $8 billion for the poor and the needy, the "highest social security coverage by any government in the history of Pakistan".

He highlighted his initiative for global debt relief and stressed the need for providing greater fiscal space to developing countries to overcome the socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

"The premier also highlighted the importance he attached to addressing climate change, countering Islamophobia, and combating illicit financial flows from developing countries."

PM Imran expressed the hope that the 75th Session of the UNGA would accord priority to these issues, which affect billions around the world, the press release said.

Turkish diplomat Bozkir was elected president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly in June and was originally scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on July 26.

But in a tweet the same day, he had said the visit to Pakistan would have to wait. “I am hoping to visit Pakistan in the near future and looking forward to a fruitful exchange with the Pakistani authorities, regarding the issues & priorities on the United Nations 75th General Assembly agenda."

A few days later, the Foreign Office had announced that Bozkir would arrive in Pakistan on Sunday (August 9) for a two-day visit to Islamabad.

President-elect meets Qureshi

Earlier today, the president-elect also met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office where the latter sought "the effective role of the UNGA to end human rights violations in occupied Kashmir", Radio Pakistan reported.

Qureshi said that Pakistan had apprised all international forums, including the UN, about India's nefarious designs, adding that India's unilateral decision to revoke the region's special autonomy in August last year was in clear violation of UN resolutions and international laws.

He stated that the extra-judicial killing of Kashmiris, firing at innocent civilians and violence had become a matter of routine in occupied Kashmir, the publication reported.

The two leaders also exchanged views about efforts for peace and stability in the region, including the Afghan peace process.

Later, Bozkir planted a sapling at the Foreign Office and "contributed to the prime minister's largest tree plantation drive to save future generations from the impact of global warming," the spokesperson for the ministry said in a tweet.

'Pakistan's Covid-19 strategy good example for the world'

Addressing a press conference later in the day alongside the foreign minister, the Turkish diplomat recognised Pakistan's efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, calling them a "good example for the world".

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UNGA President-elect Volkan Bozkir address a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UNGA President-elect Volkan Bozkir address a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Expressing his condolences over the country's Covid-19 deaths and wishing those currently ill a swift recovery, he said: "Pakistan has been a good example for the world with its pandemic-related policies. The figures show that Pakistan has done better than other countries in the world and I am happy to observe it with my own eyes.

"I think the pandemic proved once again that common problems require common responses. In our collective response to the pandemic we must focus on the special needs of the most vulnerable."

Commenting on his meeting with the prime minister, Bozkir stated that he was "impressed" with Imran.

“He is a well-known political figure [...] and has a clear vision for the region, for world peace, security and other important issues the world is dealing with." He also called the foreign minister a "brother" and an "able statesman".

Responding to a question from a reporter, Bozkir said that the president-elect represented the UN as a whole. "Turkey's position regarding the issue of Kashmir is well-known and expressed at every level by the Turkish government.

"However, the position of the UN on this region is governed by its charter and applicable Security Council resolutions as was previously expressed by the UN secretary general on different occasions."

He stated that solving the Kashmir issue was key to sustainable peace in South Asia. "Regional security should be maintained through political and diplomatic solutions. Difficult challenges can be resolved through meaningful, mutual engagement."

He stated that both the prime minister and the foreign minister had presented their approach to the issue during today's meetings. "Even from this perspective it was worth coming here to hear from my own ears and to see with my own eyes how the situation is and to understand it better so that when it comes to the UN level, it will not be by reading notes.

"So if my assistance as the president of the General Assembly is requested by the parties, I will be ready to provide contributions within my mandate."



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