NEW YORK – Pakistan has reminded the United Nations’ 193-member General Assembly of the world body’s obligations to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking in the General Assembly, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that “India’s continuing denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as promised by several resolutions of the Security Council, has sparked another indigenous and popular uprising in occupied Kashmir and also led to tensions in the region”.
Speaking during the debate on the Report of the Secretary General on the Work of the Organization, she said that the Kashmir dispute should be settled in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, through a free and fair plebiscite held under UN auspices.
Describing the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination as a legitimate one, the Pakistani envoy said that they have the right to receive moral and political support from the international community.
She reiterated Pakistan’s demand for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and welcomed the call by the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights for ‘unfettered and unconditional’ access to enable impartial monitoring of the human rights situation there.
Regretting India’s recent declarations and actions that have created conditions that pose a threat to peace and security in the region, Ambassador Lodhi said that India must take the first step to defuse tensions because it is India that has escalated the situation.
“In the past few weeks India has engaged in unprovoked shelling across wide swathes along the Line of Control. This continues to this day”, she said.
“Pakistan has exercised restraint in the face of such belligerence because we know only too well that such a tense and fraught situation can easily descend into uncontrolled escalation”, she added.
She pointed out that India does not even allow UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan), one of the earliest missions ever deployed by the UN, to fully function according to its mandate and report to the Security Council so that it can address threats to international peace and security.
Voicing Pakistan’s desire for a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Kashmir, Ambassador Lodhi said the settlement of the Kashmir issue is even more urgent today.
She said Pakistan stands ready to engage in a meaningful dialogue, which is in the interest of all the people of the region.
Ambassador Lodhi also highlighted Pakistan’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to UN peacekeeping, saying that this was acknowledged by everyone. “We have a significant stake in the success of this flagship enterprise of the United Nations”, she added.
The Pakistani envoy also stressed that while progress had been made by the international community in adopting a comprehensive new development agenda, the record on peace and security issues did not engender similar optimism.
She concluded by emphasizing that the imposing security and development challenges confronting the world could only be met by strict adherence to the principles of the UN Charter.