Foreign Minister Qureshi’s letters to UN draws attention to “unlawful steps” taken by India

Foreign Minister Qureshi's letters to UN draws attention to

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi sent letters to the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General on Wednesday, calling their attention to India’s “unlawful steps” after the annexation of the disputed area of Kashmir in order to cement its “colonial hold” on the territory.

These actions include changes to the demographic structure and electoral boundaries in the occupied territory for “further marginalization of Kashmiri Muslims” and “suppressing their demand for freedom”.

“All such measures by India in IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] are violations of international law, including the UNSC resolutions and 4th Geneva Convention, and, are ipso facto, legally and materially, null and void,” he maintained.

Mr. Qureshi also mentioned India’s involvement in the “planning, promotion, and financing of terrorist activities” against Pakistan, such as the recent attack in Lahore.

He called on the United Nations Security Council to demand that India end its terrorist and subversive campaign against Pakistan.

“This latest letter from the foreign minister continues Pakistan’s regular communications with the United Nations since August 2019 to keep the Security Council fully informed of the grave situation in IIOJK, and to remind the Security Council of its responsibility to secure a peaceful and just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with its resolutions,” said FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri.

Meanwhile, speaking at an Islamabad Policy Research Institute event commemorating the second anniversary of India’s takeover of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Qureshi said normalization with India could not be achieved at the expense of Kashmiris.

“Pakistan wants to shift focus from geo-politics to geo-economics. We want peace with India but not at the expense of the Kashmiris,” he emphasized.

Pakistan’s foreign policy paradigm shifted to geo-economics early this year when backchannel diplomacy with India resulted in the restoration of the Line of Control truce.

The process, however, came to a halt shortly after when India refused to take measures to restore Kashmir’s statehood by reversing its acts of August 5, 2019.

Mr. Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s call for India to “rescind its unilateral actions and all related instruments of oppressions and state terrorism”.

He said that resolving the conflict peacefully would “weaken the extremist narrative,” “unlock the region’s potential,” and “eliminate threats to regional and international peace and security.”

“We hope the Indian leadership will prefer statesmanship over populism,” he said.

Recalling the human rights violations the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were being subjected to, the minister said they had been languishing “in the largest concentration camp on the planet” for the past two years, where they had been even denied regular or emergency medical facilities.

“Even Covid-19, which has generated unprecedented empathy in the human race has done nothing to bring even an iota of relief to the Kashmiris,” the minister deplored.

“Even Covid-19, which has generated unprecedented empathy in the human race has done nothing to bring even an iota of relief to the Kashmiris,” the minister deplored.

He said young men were being disappeared by Indian security forces and a process of demographic engineering was under way in the valley.

Noting the worsening situation, Mr. Qureshi said: “India is trying to eliminate Kashmiris altogether.”

The foreign minister recalled Pakistan’s successes in drawing attention to the plight of Kashmiris at international forums, saying the Security Council had discussed the Jammu and Kashmir dispute three times since August 2019 and that people all over the world were gradually realizing that “beyond the smokescreen of Indian sophistry, lies Kashmiris’ perpetual nightmare.”

He took on the critics of the government’s Kashmir policy, saying “insinuations or allegations questioning our sincerity are simply malicious”.

OIC delegation

According to APP, a 12-member team from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) would visit the LoC to observe the situation on the ground.

According to the Foreign Office, the IPHRC team will visit Muzaffarabad and the Line of Control during their tour and will meet with Kashmiri leaders, IIOJK refugees, and victims of Indian crimes.

The IPHRC’s visit from August 4 to 9 coincided with the two-year anniversary of India’s unlawful actions on August 5, 2019, which were conducted in blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir conflict, according to the FO.

The visit is part of the IPHRC’s mission to monitor the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in IIOJK, particularly as a consequence of a wave of Indian unlawful activities that began on August 5, 2019.

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