NEW YORK: The United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) special meeting on Friday has affirmed the disputed status of Indian Occupied Kashmir, as it called upon both Pakistan and India to exercise restraint and refrain from unilateral actions that would aggravate the situation.
Briefing the press about the discussion in the world’s top forum, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi said that the 15-member UNSC had taken notice of the Kashmiris’ plight due to blatant human rights violations by the Indian occupational forces.
“The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up and their voices not heard in their own homes and their own land, but their voices were heard today at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council. It is for the first time in 50 years that the world body has reaffirmed that Kashmir is not India’s internal issue as it is an internally recognised dispute,” she said, thanking the member states for convening a meeting on the issue.
“Pakistan has, and always will, continue to highlight the gross human rights violations against the Muslims of Kashmir who are seeking their right to self-determination,” she said.
The ambassador said that India had made desperate attempts to thwart the meeting but the member states had ignored its pleas.
Speaking before Dr Lodhi, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations told reporters that the UNSC members had discussed the situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the issue must be resolved in line with the UN resolutions as Kashmir was an internationally recognised dispute.
The envoy said that the situation in the region is “serious and dangerous”. The Chinese diplomat at UNSC said that such unilateral practices [as were carried out by the Indian government] were “invalid”.
China also said that India has “violated the bilateral agreement to keep peace in the border areas” by the constitutional amendment.
“The situation is already very tense and dangerous right now there [in Kashmir]. India has violated bilateral agreement to keep peace in the border areas. It is obvious the constitutional amendment by India has changed the status quo by India,” the Chinese envoy said.
Urging India to refrain from any “unilateral action” on the Kashmir issue to avoid tensions, the Chinese envoy said that “such unilateral practice is not valid”.
“The Security General made a statement to refrain from any unilateral step which is dangerous. The issue should be resolved in accordance with the UN charter,” he said.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked the UNSC member states for accepting his request for summoning a meeting on the Kashmir issue.
He said that following the historic achievement made by Pakistan at the UNSC, the government has summoned a special high-level meeting at the federal capital to develop Pakistan’s future strategy on the sensitive issue.
“Pakistan has resolved to stand with the Kashmiris through thick and thin until the time they get freedom from Indian oppression,” he reiterated.
Earlier on Wednesday, China backed Pakistan’s request for the UNSC to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, asking for the body to meet “behind closed doors” on Friday, diplomats said.
In its response, France proposed that the council discuss the issue in a less formal manner – known as “any other business” – next week, diplomats said. It was up to Poland, president of the council for August, to mediate an agreed time and format among the 15 members who decided to hold the session “behind closed doors”.
President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday that “the UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16”.
The August 5 decision by India blocks the right of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there. Telephone lines, internet, and television networks have been blocked and there are restrictions on movement and assembly.
Earlier, Pakistan drew the attention of the UNSC presidency to the grave threat to peace and security in the region after India annexed occupied Kashmir and called for summoning an emergency meeting of the council to discuss the rapidly aggravating situation.
“Pakistan will not provoke a conflict. But India should not mistake our restraint for weakness,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote in a letter to the Security Council on Tuesday. “If India chooses to resort again to the use of force, Pakistan will be obliged to respond, in self-defense, with all its capabilities.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on India and Pakistan to refrain from any steps that could affect the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Guterres also said he was concerned about reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir.
The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the mostly Muslim Kashmir.