Pakistan is not isolated, says UN envoy

Updated 15 Oct 2020

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In this Jan 2020 file photo, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram addresses the UNSC. — APP/File
In this Jan 2020 file photo, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram addresses the UNSC. — APP/File

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s re-election to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with an overwhelming majority refutes the claim that the country has been isolated in the international community, Islamabad’s top UN diplomat said on Wednesday.

Pakistan was re-elected to the UNHRC on Tuesday, securing 169 votes in the 193-member UN General Assembly, higher than any other contestant.

“How can you say that when you get the highest number of votes in the council election,” asked Ambassador Munir Akram while commenting on the claim that Pakistan stood isolated.

“Countries in every region of the world supported us,” said the Pakistani envoy, adding that those who still talked about isolation “must be misguided”.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN said that re-election was always more difficult, and the results reaffirmed the “widespread standing and respect” Pakistan enjoyed in the international community. “We got the highest vote, which is a further proof of our international standing,” he said.

Asked what the benefit was of being a member of this council, Mr Akram said that since last year, Pakistan has been able to obtain two major reports on the situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and several updates as well. And 18 special rapporteurs also have issued a joint statement, criticising various aspects of India’s human rights violations in Kashmir, and against Indian Muslims, he added.

Such reports, he said, brought pressure on India by exposing the worsening human rights situation in the country.

“The council is a central forum for exposing human rights violations and to persuade India to stop those violations,” he added.

Asked if this was the only option available to Pakistan, Ambassador Akram said: “We take the issue to the UN Security Council as well, when major developments take place.” Since last year, Pakistan has raised the issues three times inside the UNSC.

“This builds the pressure on India and shows the reality, which was not revealed before,” he said. “Now, we have launched this campaign, revealing the authoritarian nature of the Indian regime. And this is having an impact on public opinions, including inside the United States.”

Taking a strong position on human rights has also boosted Pakistan’s image because “we are taking positions on issues that have international support”.

The Pakistani diplomat disagreed with the suggestion that the OIC was no longer supporting Pakistan on Kashmir. “The OIC has spoken, regularly, on this issue. And have done so at all levels,” he said.

Asked to explain Pakistan’s future strategy, Ambassador Akram said: “We will continue our campaign of exposing India and highlighting Pakistan’s positive role. We are playing a leadership role on this issue.”

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2020