UNSC to discuss Kashmir dispute today

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Staff Report

Islamabad

Pakistan got major diplomatic breakthrough at international level against India as the UN Security Council (UNSC) will hold a session to discuss the occupied Kashmir dispute today, as China also backed Pakistan’s request.

“The UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16,” UNSC President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday.

This is a big success for Kashmir and Pakistan as the debate is happening after decades. Last time when Jammu and Kashmir found a reference in UNSC resolutions was in 1998 in resolution 1172 after Pakistan conducted nuclear tests. However, the mention under India Pakistan question is after decades.

Pakistan on Tuesday had called on the United Nations Security Council to convene an urgent meeting on India’s decision to revoke autonomy for the disputed Muslim-majority state of Kashmir, a move it says could spark a new conflict between the two South Asian nuclear powers.

India’s recent actions “pose a threat to international peace and security, wilfully undermine the internationally recognised disputed status of Jammu & Kashmir,” and violate the human rights of the Kashmiri people, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote in a letter Tuesday to the Security Council.

China supported Pakistan’s request for the UNSC meeting to discuss the revocation of article-370 that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and asked for the body to meet behind closed doors on Thursday or Friday, diplomats said.

However, France responded to the request by proposing that the council discuss the issue in a less formal manner — known as “any other business” — next week, diplomats said. Reuters reported that it would be up to Poland, president of the council for August, to mediate an agreed time and format among the 15 members.

Meantime, a Russian representative at the council said his country will not object to the meeting. “Moscow doesn’t object to holding such a meeting, but the matter should be discussed behind closed doors,” said Russia’s acting UN envoy, Dmitry Polyansky, while talking to reporters on Wednesday. He said the UNSC members need to coordinate their positions first, because the issue hasn’t been on its agenda for quite a while.

Foreign Minister Qureshi on Thursday hailed Pakistan’s ‘landmark diplomatic achievement’ of securing a discussion on Kashmir in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after four decades.

In an interview with Pakistan’s state-owned broadcaster, the foreign minister said the UNSC had last discussed Kashmir in 1971, except for a cursory mention in 1998 following Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

He said India opposed any discussion on the matter in the UNSC but its concerns had been dismissed.

“The world needs to realise that this issue is greater than a piece of land between two countries. This is an issue of humanity,” he said.

“India has placed a complete clampdown on the movement of Kashmiris. There are reports of food and medicine shortages but no international observers or media organisations are being allowed to visit IOK.”

FM Qureshi said New Delhi was bent on carrying out a genocide of Muslims to achieve its aim of changing the demographic composition of Kashmir.

The foreign minister said he had discussed India’s brutal actions in IOK with his counterpart from Poland, which holds the UNSC presidency at present.

Special assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan has termed convening of UNSC session after five decades a diplomatic victory of Pakistan.  Russia has also supported Pakistan demand.

She said in a tweet “World is taking notice of unilateral and illegal step taken by Modi. UNSC meeting is a severe blow to India claim. Pakistan will plead the case of oppressed Kashmiris on every forum.

India revoked the special status of IOK on August 5. Several Kashmiri leaders and former chief ministers were also placed under house arrests before the very move.

Political leaders and experts have warned of a severe backlash against the Indian move, with local resentment amplified after authorities imposed severe movement restrictions in the Kashmir Valley and severed all public telecommunications links, including mobile phones and internet.

Pakistan retaliated by suspending bilateral trade and all public transport links with India, as well as expelling New Delhi’s ambassador to Islamabad.

Prime Minister Imran Khan travelled to the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Muzaffarabad, on August 14, marking his first visit to the region since becoming the premier.

In an Independence Day speech, PM Imran warned the army was fully prepared and revealed India was planning to attack AJK to divert the global attention from the IOK which remains in lockdown since New Delhi scrapped Article 370 of its constitution.