ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday urged the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to work towards ending, what he called a “persistent clampdown” imposed by the Indian government in Kashmir.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for its decision to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.
After India’s decision on August 5, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner from the country. India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter” has asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.
In his message on the occasion of the UN Day, which is observed on October 24, Qureshi said the world body has played an active role in the struggle against colonialism and in promoting fundamental human rights.
“Peoples right to self-determination lies at the heart of this quest. Yet such a universal value is being trampled upon in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The situation, Qureshi said, has been “further exacerbated by persistent clampdown imposed” by the Indian government in the region after August 5.
“As we celebrate the UN Day, I call on the international community, and especially the UN Security Council, to work towards ending” the Kashmir crisis, he said.
Following the abrogation of Article 370, the Indian government imposed restrictions, including ban on mobile phones and Internet, in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain law and order.
The restrictions are being gradually lifted in a phased manner.
On Thursday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court that there are no restrictions in around 99 per cent areas and the situation is being reviewed daily.
The Internet restriction, it said, is going on as the issue has cross-border implications.
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following the scrapping of its special status.
Qureshi said multilateral cooperation remains a corner stone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
“Our longstanding collaboration with the United Nations is manifested, among others, by our contribution to UN peacekeeping…over 200,000 of our Blue Helmets have served in 46 Missions across the world,” he said.