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Kashmir in focus

The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abassi in his maiden address to the UNGA session put across his country’s point of view regarding the most pressing issues affecting the world today. During his 20 minute speech PM Abassi spoke extensively about wide ranging issues that confront the world including, terrorism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, East-West tensions, crisis in Middle East, persecution of Rohingya community in Myanmar, impact of Afghar war at its implications on Pakistan and Pakistan’s role in war against terror, however, the Pakistan PM dedicated a large portion of his speech to highlight the prevailing political and human rights situation in the UN recognized disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian occupation. Seeking world leaders’ attention towards the unresolved dispute that has been a stumbling block in the way of peace and stability in the region, the PM said that the dispute should be resolved justly, peacefully and expeditiously. “The legitimate struggle for self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be brutally suppressed by India’s occupation forces”, he said.

As India is unwilling to resume the peace process with Pakistan, he said, “We call on the Security Council to fulfill its obligation to secure the implementation of its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir”. Reiterating his country’s demand to hold India accountable of the war crimes committed by its troops in the held territory, Abassi said, “Pakistan demands an international investigation into India’s crimes in Occupied Kashmir. We ask that the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights send an inquiry Commission to Occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of those responsible, and provide justice and relief to the victims”. He also urged the international community to call on India to: halt pellet gun attacks and other violence against unarmed demonstrators; stop the use of rape as an instrument of state policy; end media blackouts; rescind its draconian emergency laws; and free all Kashmiri political leaders.

Reiterating Pakistan’s desire to resume comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Jammu and Kashmir, and discuss measures to maintain peace and security the PM said that dialogue must be accompanied by an end to India’s campaign of subversion and state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan, including from across our western border.

Pakistan, as a matter of fact, has always shown its willingness to address the issue of Kashmir through peaceful means but if the history of bilateral relationship between the two arch rivals is any guide one can see the treacherous role that India played to avoid the settlement of Kashmir dispute. History is that it was Indian Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru who took the issue of Kashmir to the United Nations, agreed to the plebiscite plan at first, but later on the successive regimes in India backed out of the deal.
The United Nations proposed a comprehensive road map to settle the dispute peacefully and did try to organize plebiscite and consequently many representatives visited Kashmir, submitted their reports vis-à-vis holding referendum in the region but they failed. They failed because India backed out of its commitments and sabotaged every effort for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

As for as the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir are concerned these resolutions clearly stated that the future of the Kashmiri people will be decided by an impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the UN, which was accepted by India, Pakistan and the International community.

Since the dispute was taken to the UN, Kashmiris waited for so long but no steps were taken to implement these resolutions. Latter on after signing Simla Agreement in July 1972 Indian and Pakistan vowed to restore diplomatic and trade relations, set-free prisoners of War (POW) and resolve the dispute of Kashmir, reiterating their resolve that all issues were simultaneously taken up and resolved by the two nations but the history of bilateral talks stand witness to the fact that Kashmir remained the most neglected and unaddressed issue during bilateral negotiations between the two countries.

In Lahore declaration, the leadership of India and Pakistan expressed similar sort of resolve to address the issue of Kashmir but attempts to resolve the dispute remained stuck in adversarial negotiating positions. The years’ long composite dialogue and much hyped peace process between the two countries also proved a futile exercise as India used the dialogue process as a dilly dallying tactics and political maneuvering to wrest Kashmir by hook or by crook.

Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle as has been aptly said is the consequence of broken promises and missed opportunities. So rather than looking Kashmir problem through Indian prism it was incumbent upon international community deliver justice to Kashmiris who have been reeling under oppression and suppression. Pakistan has yet again shown its readiness to resume dialogue with India with a sole objective to resolve the core issue of Kashmir, it is high-time that the international community should play its due role to settle this long running dispute to ensure durable peace in the region as durable peace in the South Asian region is inescapably linked to the settlement of Kashmir dispute.

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