The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has promised to take up the issue of occupied Kashmir with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday.
Addressing a news conference after a telephonic conversation with the UN chief who is in Paris for the G-7 summit, Qureshi said he had again drawn Guterres’ attention to the humanitarian crisis in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) in the wake of New Delhi’s illegal annexation of the disputed territory.
The minister said the UN chief had listened to him patiently and reiterated that he was always willing to play his role for the resolution of the Kashmir issue but India did not look forward to it. Guterres also told the minister that the UN is closely monitoring the alarming situation in the IOK and would continue playing its role in the matter.
Qureshi said the situation in the region demanded that the UN chief should visit South Asia. “I invite him [UN chief] to visit Azad Kashmir. The citizens there will await his arrival and we will facilitate him in visiting any place and meeting anyone he wants,” he added.
“He [Guterres] should also demand that he be allowed to visit occupied Kashmir so he can see for himself what’s happening there, inform the world about it and play his role in putting to an end the humanitarian crisis there.”
The minister said he had informed the UN chief about the recent developments in the disputed territory. “I drew his [Guterres] attention to Indian forces using teargas shells and pellet guns on Kashmiris who were staging a demonstration after Friday prayers yesterday,” he added.
“Many mosques were shutdown despite the fact that prayers are a fundamental right of every Muslim. The Indian forces’ shelling and use of pellet guns injured several Kashmiris.” Qureshi also said he had drawn the UN chief’s attention to the lockdown of the IOK entering its 20 consecutive days.
“I urged the UN secretary-general to step up efforts for lifting the curfew in the occupied valley and inform the P5 leadership about the gravity of the situation there.”
The minister said he had informed the UN chief about the human rights violations, illegal detentions and food and medicine shortage in the disputed territory.
“The UN needs to step forward immediately and play its role in protecting the lives of innocent Kashmiris on a war-footing basis. The UN Security Council is mandated to intervene in any illegal and unilateral steps aimed at changing the demography of disputed territory.”
Qureshi reminded the UN secretary-general that there were three parties to the Kashmir dispute of which two — Pakistan and the Kashmiris — had already vehemently rejected the unilateral and illegal Indian steps.
“The third party, India, stands divided as a large section of the Indian society and opposition parties oppose Modi’s illegal steps,” he added.
The minister said the real agenda of Modi’s fascist regime stood further exposed after a delegation of nine Indian opposition parties led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi — who had reached the occupied valley to assess the situation there — were detained at the Srinagar airport and deported back to Delhi.
“The Congress leaders who were holding a news conference were also arrested,” Qureshi noted.
“Such is the democratic face of India the world is witnessing today. I urge the democratic nations of the world to watch that footage [of the arrest of Congress leaders]. How can you expect Pakistan to hold talks with the Modi government, which treats its own people in this manner?”
The minister said he had brought India’s use of cluster munitions along the Line of Control (LoC) to notice of the UN secretary-general and also informed him about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s concerns over the possibility of New Delhi staging a false-flag operation in the occupied valley.
Qureshi said he had thanked the UN secretary-general for his statement over the Kashmir dispute, which reflected a legal and correct version of the global body and highlighted the plight of innocent Kashmiris.
“The UN secretary general’s statement carries a great deal of weight and the world pays attention to it,” he added. The minister also told Guterres that the UN Security Council had timely held its deliberations, sensing the gravity of the situation in the IOK.
“During the closed-door consultations, all the UNSC members were of the opinion that the issue should be resolved peacefully.” The minister said Kashmiris are patiently looking towards the international community for help and they expect it to play its role.
“In case it [global community] fails, Kashmiris will be forced to avail all options to resist the highhandedness and aggression unleashed by the Indian government in the occupied valley.”