ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday cautioned G-20 countries against accepting Delhi’s proposal for holding some of the meetings of the bloc’s next year’s summit in India-held Jammu and Kas­h­mir, saying it was India’s attempt to legitimise its illegal control of the disputed region.

“Pakistan completely rej­ects any such attempt by India,” Foreign Office spok­e­sman Asim Iftikhar said in response to reports that Delhi was planning to hold some of the G-20’s 2023 summit-related events in India-held Kashmir.

India will assume the presidency of G-20 countries, a bloc of advanced and emerging economies, for next year. As the president of the grouping, India would host the Leaders’ Summit, and ministerial and officials’ meetings. Civil society events would also be planned on this occasion.

Delhi had, as part of its preparations for next year’s event, sought proposals from all states and union territories, including occupied Jammu and Kashmir, for venues for hosting of G-20 meetings. This communication created a stir because if India-held Jammu and Kashmir were to be picked as one of the venues then it would be the first time that the disputed region would be hosting an international event since Delhi revoked its autonomous status in 2019.

An Indian source claimed that so far no final decision has been taken on whether or not to hold any meetings in occupied Kashmir. “The process for selecting venues has just been started and it may take up to two months before any final decision is taken and security would be a key consideration,” he maintained while speaking over phone from Delhi.

The FO spokesman underscored that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised “disputed” territory between Pakistan and India.

“The territory has been under forcible and illegal occupation of India since 1947 and this dispute has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades,” he added. “Most ominously, India has been seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory in flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, international law, and the 4th Geneva Convention,” he added.

The spokesman said the international community should not accept Delhi’s proposals for holding any G-20 related meeting or event in India-held Jammu and Kashmir in disregard of the globally acknowledged “disputed” status of the territory.

“It is expected that in case of any such controversial proposal from India, which would be designed to seek international legitimacy for an illegal and tyrannical occupation continuing for over 7 decades, the G-20 members will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would reject it outright,” he emphasised.

He urged the international community to press Delhi to end gross and systematic violations of human rights in India-held Jammu and Kashmir, revoke its illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019, and free all political prisoners, including the true Kashmiri leaders.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2022

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