Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States has said the Trump administration must do more to pressure New Delhi into withdrawing its decision to revoke the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir.
The comments by Asad Majeed Khan came in an interview with Bloomberg, in which he stressed the need for decisive action from Washington to avert potential conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Dr Asad Majeed Khan said, that India’s move to revoke the status of occupied Kashmir could lead to a serious escalation. “Kashmir even according to India’s own constitution has enjoyed a special status. What India has done is to unilaterally change the status of the territory which is recognised by the entire international community including the United Nations as a disputed territory and we as a party to that dispute have a serious issue with what India has done,” Khan said.
He continued, “The consequences of India’s action has led to a lockdown in the region and India actually has its troops present in the valley, turning the whole valley into the largest prison in the world with about 12 million people watched by troops and we are concerned about it.” Responding to a question about Pakistan’s response, the ambassador said, “The world saw our restraint even during the Pulwama crisis where India violated our sovereignty and sent aircraft to bomb our side of the territory, even in the face of that kind of aggression our response was very measured.”
“Our response was dictated by restraint. Our prime minister was here on a visit to the US and consistently spoke about Pakistan’s desire for peace. I think we remain committed to that but essentially I think what is really important is that this escalation we are seeing on India’s side needs to be de-escalated for the two countries to engage in dialogue.”
When asked what role does Pakistan expects other countries to play and in particular from the US, Khan said, “The State Department spokesperson the other day very clearly said that there is no change in US position on Kashmir.”
“When PM [Imran] was here, Trump offered mediation in resolving the long-standing dispute by itself; it was a recognition of the existence of a dispute that needs resolution.”
“We welcome the president’s offer to do so. India did not accept the offer for us I think the US continued engagement has an important role to play in not just adding — trying to help two countries have a dialogue to resolve the issue but also to urge India to undo things they have done over the last week in unleashing pressure, arresting people across the board, in turning the valley into a huge prison.”