Qureshi apprises UN of India’s impending move for 'further division' of IOK

Published June 16, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi regretted that Indian forces had killed, tortured, arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of Kashmiris. — File/AP
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi regretted that Indian forces had killed, tortured, arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of Kashmiris. — File/AP

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has conveyed Pakistan’s “grave concern” to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on reports indicating that India might impose “further illegal and unilateral measures” in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK), including “division, bifurcation and additional demographic changes in the occupied territory,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday.

Qureshi, in a letter addressed to the UNSC president and the United Nations secretary general, drew the attention of the United Nations to India’s continued military siege of IOK, “which has continued for over 22 months, to suppress the Kashmiris’ legitimate demands through a massive campaign of repression including gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

The foreign minister also expressed concern over India’s design to undermine the exercise of the inalienable right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people by changing the demographic structure of IOK through issuance of fake domicile certificates.

He underlined that “all the unilateral and illegal actions taken by India in occupied Kashmir since 1951, including the measures initiated on and after August 5, 2019, and any additional unilateral changes that India may introduce in the future, are violations of international law including the Security Council Resolutions and the 4th Geneva Convention.”

The foreign minister expressed regret that Indian occupation forces had killed, tortured, arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of Kashmiris, and put almost the entire Kashmiri leadership behind bars.

Stressing that the people of IOK have "vociferously rejected" the illegal measures imposed by India, Qureshi called upon the UN Security Council to fulfil its responsibility to ensure all-out implementation of its resolutions on the Kashmir dispute.

He also urged the UNSC to call upon India to cease its campaign of repression in IOK and reverse all its illegal actions, including those initiated on and after August 5, 2019, and “to desist from imposing any additional unilateral changes in the occupied territory.”

The foreign minister’s letter has also affirmed that Pakistan desired peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.

Noting that a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people is essential for durable peace and stability in South Asia, the foreign minister emphasised that the onus was on India to create an enabling environment for result-oriented engagement with Pakistan.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in New York handed over the foreign minister’s letter to the president of the UN Security Council.

A week ago, the Foreign Office had expressed serious concern over reports of the Indian government’s purported plans to trigger new “administrative and demographic changes” in IOK.

Commenting on the reports, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri had said "no new instrument of occupation shall have any legal effect."

"India cannot change the disputed status of [occupied Kashmir], as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, nor can it force Kashmiris and Pakistan to accept illegal outcomes," the FO had commented.

The statement added: “India-occupied Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory and Pakistan will continue to resolutely oppose Indian attempts to change the demographic structure and final status of the occupied territory.”

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