NEW YORK: Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi has called for not just words but action on part of the United Nations to deal with the grave crisis stemming from the illegal annexation of occupied Kashmir by India.
In an interview with Consortium News, she highlighted the gravity of the situation in the occupied valley where people have been suffering under a repressive military lockdown for over a month.
Lodhi pushed for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions that have pledged the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people to decide their future. She urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take steps to prevent a bigger crisis in South Asia.
“What has happened in occupied Jammu and Kashmir is certainly a flashpoint,” Ambassador Lodhi said while noting that the secretary-general and other UN officials have made statements in the wake of the ongoing crisis that called for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
“But we need action. We just don’t need words. We need action,” she said emphatically. “There are already tensions which are at a peak between India and Pakistan, and the situation can snowball into a much bigger crisis,” the Pakistani envoy warned.
“I think the UN certainly has long-standing obligations, and it also has immediate obligations, including ending the human rights violations that are going on in the occupied valley,” she said.
Talking about the role of the UN secretary-general in resolving the crisis, the Pakistani envoy said his offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute has repeatedly been rejected by India.
“India refuses to talk to Pakistan. India refuses to accept mediation, whether it is mediation offered by US President (Donald) Trump or by the UN secretary-general, and India refuses to abide by its human rights commitments,” Lodhi noted.
Questioned about Pakistani military’s statement pledging to exercise all options over IoK, Ambassador Lodhi said that the intent of that statement was to say that Pakistan will stand by the people of Jammu and Kashmir no matter what.
The valley, which has been under a curfew since August 5, remains cut off from the rest of the world due to the continued blockade and suspension of internet, mobile and landline phones and closure of TV channels.
A humanitarian crisis has been looming in the valley as people face acute shortage of food, medicines and other commodities. Patients are even being denied life-saving medical care, suggest reports.
The near-total communications blackout has triggered global concern, with a group of UN human rights experts warning it amounted to “collective punishment” and risked exacerbating regional tensions.