Cum. Oca 24th, 2020

Pakistan welcomes UNSC meeting on Kashmir

– Premier Imran Khan says meeting is recognition of seriousness of prevailing situation

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Thursday welcomed a meeting to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir in New York.

Prime Minister Imran Khan took to the Twitter to welcome the rare meeting, the second since New Delhi scrapped the longstanding special status of the disputed valley last August following a communications and security lockdown.

"Pakistan welcomes UN Security Council discussing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir again. An internationally recognized dispute J&K remains on the Security Council's agenda, and its consideration by the Council reflects a recognition of the seriousness of the prevailing situation," Khan said.

UN Security Council members held rare talks on the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday amid ongoing concerns over the flashpoint between the nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

After the meeting, senior Russian diplomat Dmitry Polyanskiy said the 15-nation body had discussed the contentious Indian-administered region, where New Delhi has been accused of abuses against its mostly-Muslim population.

"UNSC discussed Kashmir in closed consultations," Polyanskiy said on Twitter shortly after discussions ended on Wednesday.

"Russia firmly stands for the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan. We hope that differences between them will be settled through bilateral efforts based on the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration"

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun warned of "tensions" in the region and said council members were briefed by a UN official about the situation on the ground and exchanged views on the issue.

Last month, the U.S., Britain, France and Russia blocked a previous attempt by China to discuss the issue at another closed-door meeting. The council last discussed Kashmir in August 2019.

China has long voiced concern over the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, and said it supports Pakistan in the issue.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in part and claim the Himalayan region in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan that have fought two wars over the territory.

UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a ceasefire between India and Pakistan.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other major international campaign outfits have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions, release political detainees and switch all telecommunications back on.