India rejected on Wednesday Pakistan’s call for a plebiscite in Indian-held Kashmir and lashed out at Islamabad for raising the issue at the United Nations.
Terming Pakistan’s call for voting in Indian-held Kashmir as ‘irrelevant’ at the Fourth World Conference of Speakers, India asserted that the state is an integral part of the country and its citizens have willingly chosen a democratically-elected state government, according to NDTV.
“Pakistan must know that this is the platform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union where the 2030 development agenda is being discussed,” Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, while rejecting Pakistan’s call to discuss the matter in the United Nations, Press Trust of India reported.
“Pakistan representative’s remarks on the issue in the UN are totally irrelevant,” she added.
Meanwhile, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, acting speaker for Pakistan’s National Assembly in his speech said, “It is time” for the people of Indian-held Kashmir to be given a chance to exercise their right to self-determination which can only be done through an independent and impartial plebiscite under the UN.”
Expressing disagreement with Abbasi, Mahajan believed that Pakistan is bringing up the Indian Kashmir issue at a UN platform out of habit as it has done so in the past as well and is creating an issue which does not exist.
“Pakistan should keep in mind that the people of Indian Kashmir have voted to elect their state government. What can be more democratic than this,” she said, while rejecting Pakistan’s call for a plebiscite.
According to Mahajan, Pakistan was drifting away from the main agenda of the conference, that is development.
However, keeping in mind the objective of the conference, Abbasi during his speech stated that “outstanding disputes” like Indian-held Kashmir create disputes in South Asia, thus preventing the region from realising “its tremendous economic and social potential.”
Mahajan nevertheless, failed to agree as she said, “They are not focused on development. They are not thinking about their citizens and how development should take place in Pakistan. But instead every now and then they try to raise only one issue.”
Reinstating his stance, Abbasi claimed that Indian-held Kashmir has been internationally recognised as a disputed territory, underwritten by several United Nations resolutions thus the matter is in no way irrelevant.
“The Kashmiri people have waited for too long for their just and inalienable right to self-determination. Peace in South Asia is an imperative not only for the people of that region but also for the citizens of a globalised world,” he added.
This article originally appeared on NDTV