UN must ask India to retract Kashmir decision: Lodhi


UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr Maleeha Lodhi spent a busy day on Tuesday briefing the Security Council president, diplomats and UN officials on the grave situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir following India’s move to abolish Article 370 of its constitution.

The Pakistani envoy went through a tightly laid-out schedule to apprise as many of her counterparts as possible of the breach by India of UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, with the revocation of the territory’s special status that has spawned a regional crisis.

Lodhi met President of the UN Security Council Joanna Wronecka where she emphasised that the Indian action was “an egregious assault on the dignity of the Kashmiris.”

She called on the Security Council to demand that India halt and reverse its unlawful and destabilising actions; ensure full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions; and refrain from any steps that interfere with the settlement of the decades-old Kashmir dispute.

“The tragedy of Kashmir has thus come full circle,” the Pakistani envoy told UNSC President, sources said.

In 1947, she pointed out, India occupied Jammu and Kashmir on fallacious grounds.

“The real Indian intention to institute these changes is to alter the demographic structure of the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” Ambassador Lodhi told UNSC President Wronecka.

Since these actions could materially breach the plebiscite arrangements under the UN auspices, she said, they constitute a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions, particularly with regard to realisation of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris.

These Indian machinations notwithstanding, the Pakistani ambassador explained that relevant Council resolutions provide that “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”.

The unilateral Indian action cannot revoke this legal ‘fact’ and is, therefore void, Ambassador Lodhi said.

Pakistan, she said, resolutely condemns this sly Indian attempt to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, adding, “The valiant Kashmiri struggle for self-determination cannot be crushed through a parliamentary act.”

Kashmiris across the spectrum, the Pakistani envoy told President Wronecka, have unequivocally rejected the Indian move.

Moderate voices within India have also berated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for mortgaging Kashmir to its narrow political interests, she pointed out.

“Tellingly, India is fully aware of the illegality of its actions,” she said, pointing out that the legislative ‘farce’ in the Indian Parliament was thus, preceded by additional deployment of 38,000 soldiers to the occupied territory, forced exodus of all outsiders, imposition of curfew, detention of the legitimate Kashmiri leadership, and suspension of communication services.

“These are not actions of a state with legitimate claims over territory but are acts of a usurper who seeks to occupy territory and subdue its people, under duress and subjugation,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

In 2018, she said, Indian forces committed more than 2,350 ceasefire violations resulting in the martyrdom of 36 civilians while countless others sustained injuries, noting that this dangerous trend continues unabated during the current year.

“As the preeminent body tasked with the maintenance of international peace and security, the Security Council should take immediate cognisance of the situation,” Ambassador Lodhi emphasised. “After all, at stake are not only the imperative for regional peace but also the credibility and standing of the Council to uphold its own legally binding resolutions.”

According to sources, the UNSC president listened to the Pakistani envoy and said she was closely following the developments in Kashmir.