UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday offered to play the role of ‘an honest broker’ between Pakistan and India to ease tensions between the two South Asian neighbours.
Guterres, who assumed charge last week, made the offer after Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi briefed him on the Kashmir issue, highlighting the positioning of Indian special forces in Occupied Kashmir’s Kupwara and Rajauri districts along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, indicating another escalatory move.
Ambassador Lodhi told the UN chief that the new Indian deployments in recent weeks appeared to be ‘ominous’.
She handed over to Guterres a dossier on India’s interference and terrorism in Pakistan. It was a follow-up to the three dossiers submitted last October and contains additional information and proof of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)’s interference in Pakistan and involvement in terrorism, particularly in Balochistan, Fata, and Karachi.
According to sources, Ambassador Lodhi told Guterres that Pakistan had shown immense restraint in the face of India’s war-mongering and exercised caution in responding to unprovoked Indian cross-border shelling over the past few months, despite the dangerous situation building up on many fronts.
At the same time she warned that Pakistan had the capability to ‘respond appropriately’ and would not tolerate any threat to its territorial integrity. The Pakistani envoy hoped that the United Nations and the international community would, in the interest of maintaining peace and security, urge India to understand the dangers and futility of any military misadventure.
Guterres, who served as the high commissioner for refugees for 10 years before his appointment as the world body’s chief, appreciated Pakistan’s role in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for such a long period of time.
He paid tributes to the professionalism of Pakistani peacekeepers serving in the UN missions around the globe. Pakistan is among the top troop contributors to UN peacekeeping operations, with over 9,000 troops and police personnel deployed at the world’s hot spots.
The secretary-general also appreciated Pakistan’s effective counter-terrorism measures that have broken the back of terrorists.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2017.