Pakistan to approach UNSC against India, says Qureshi


–FM dismisses India’s claim that revoking Article 370 is an ‘internal matter’

–Cites Nehru’s speeches and statements in favour of right to self-determination

–Says Samjhota Express would be discontinued, suspension of trade won’t affect Afghanistan

–Qureshi says India could stage a ‘false-flag operation’ to divert int’l attention from IOK

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said that Pakistan will approach the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against India’s revoking of special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, the foreign minister said that Pakistan had taken the decision in light of the existing resolutions of the world body on the Kashmir dispute.

He said that Pakistan rejects India’s claim that scrapping Article 370 of the Indian constitution is its “internal matter”, saying that the claim was wrong from a historical, legal and moral perspective.

He questioned India’s claim that it had changed the constitutional status of IOK for the welfare of the Kashmiri people, saying that how does deploying 900,000 troops and turning the disputed valley into a “jail” justify India’s claim.

“What had stopped New Delhi from taking steps for the welfare of Kashmiris since Article 370 was inserted into the Indian constitution seven decades ago?” he questioned.

He said that former Indian premier Jawaharlal Nehru had declared numerous times that the future of the disputed territory would ultimately be decided by the goodwill and pleasure of the Kashmiris. “The goodwill and pleasure of Indian parliament is no importance in this matter,” he quoted Nehru as saying.

He said that Nehru, in his address to the nation in 1947 had said that India has declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people and India will not, and cannot, back out of it.

Qureshi further said that Nehru had told the constituent assembly of India on one occasion that as soon as peace and order have been established in the disputed valley, Kashmiris should make a decision through plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as the United Nations.

“If however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means. We will not keep them against their will however painful it may be to us. I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir,” the minister quoted the former Indian premier as saying.

The foreign minister said that earlier in the day he spoke to European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and told him that India had been avoiding talks to resolve the Kashmir dispute through dialogue. He said he informed Mogherini that India had violated UNSC resolutions by revoking Article 370 and wants to change Kashmir’s demography.

He urged the international community to take notice of India’s violation of international laws and resolutions. He also cautioned them against a probable “false-flag operation”. “It is possible that a drama like “Pulawama 2” would be staged by India to divert the world’s attention from atrocities in Kashmir,” he said.

The foreign minister also rubbished reports that Pakistan had closed its airspace in wake of the recent tensions with India, saying they are nothing but “fake news”.

He said that Pakistan remains committed to finishing the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims. He also dismissed the notion that suspension of trade would have consequences on Pakistan-Afghanistan trade. “We do not want to put our Afghan brothers in any difficulty and suspension of trade with India will not affect our trade relationship with Afghanistan,” he said.

He further said that Pakistan-India train service, Samjhota Express, would be discontinued in wake of the growing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Responding to a question about military action in Kashmir, he said that Pakistan was interested in finding a diplomatic and political solution to the Kashmir issue and its strained relationship with India.