FM highlights IIOJ&K dispute in letters to UN heads


Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after taking office reached out for the first time to the president of the UN Security Council and the secretary General of the United Nations on Tuesday, by writing a comprehensive letter to them.

This was in continuation of Pakistan’s efforts to internationally highlight the alarming situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019.

The Foreign Office said Bilawal focused on four important points: “Take immediate cognizance of the grave implications of the illegal ‘delimitation’ of IIOJ&K by India; remind India that Jammu and Kashmir remains an internationally recognized dispute pending resolution, and that India should refrain from bringing about any illegal demographic changes in the occupied territory in contravention to the international law, the Geneva Conventions, and India’s own obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions; compel and counsel India to halt its human rights abuses against the people of IIOJ&K and cease forthwith the endemic political persecution and economic exploitation of the Kashmiris.” 

He urged the UN to prevail upon India to let the people of IIOJ&K determine their own future through a fair plebiscite under the United Nations auspices as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, said the letter.

As in the past, it is expected that Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Munir Akram would hand over the letters to the UN heads. “The letter apprises them, in particular, of India’s sinister ploy of reducing the representation of Muslims through the unlawful delimitation exercise in IIOJ&K. The foreign minister underscored that these illegal measures constitute flagrant violation of the international law including the UN Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and were ipso facto null and void,” said the Foreign Office.

The foreign minister also highlighted India’s gross, systematic and widespread human rights violations in IIOJ&K and drew particular attention to the ongoing Indian efforts to further marginalize, disempower and divide the beleaguered Kashmiri population. He noted that this was a shameless assault on the identity and fundamental rights of the people and IIOJ&K culture, and was designed to pave the way for installing yet another puppet government in IIOJ&K that is pliant to the BJP-RSS combine, and panders to its Hindutva ideology.

He said that under the garb of this inherently ill-intentioned process, India had attempted to carry out demographic engineering in IIOJ&K in a bid to convert Muslim majority constituencies into Hindu-majority ones.

“Through the sham delimitation exercise, it is obvious that India is aiming to speed up the process of demographic changes that it has already set in motion through measures such as doling out of millions of domicile certificates, offering of jobs and putting up of land in IIOJ&K for sale to non-Kashmiris, in complete disregard to the international law and relevant Geneva Conventions,” wrote the foreign minister.

The foreign minister, meanwhile, held a virtual meeting with China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The state councilor extended felicitations to the Foreign Minister on assumption of office. The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Bilawal conveyed that Pakistan enjoyed unique and time-tested bonds with China and appreciated the measures taken by the two sides to strengthen the All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries. He thanked his counterpart for China’s firm support to Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national development, and reaffirmed Pakistan’s full support to China on all issues of its core interest.

The FM underscored his determination to inject fresh momentum in the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and add new avenues to practical cooperation. He appreciated the transformational impact of CPEC on Pakistan’s infrastructure, energy, industrialisation, socio-economic development and improvement in livelihoods of the people. He underlined that Pakistan was committed to high quality development of CPEC and looked forward to fast-tracking key projects and accelerating industrial relocation to Pakistan, especially in CPEC SEZs.

Condemning the terrorist attack in Karachi University in which three Chinese teachers lost their lives, the foreign minister underlined Pakistan’s firm resolve to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He reiterated that Pakistan attached high importance to safety and security of Chinese projects, nationals and institutions in Pakistan. The two foreign ministers also discussed the evolving situation in the region and beyond, in particular the dire humanitarian and economic situation in Afghanistan. Bilawal also briefed his Chinese counterpart on the gross human rights violations and serious situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Both agreed to remain in close contact.

%d bloggers like this: