ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said that United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Pakistan was highly encouraging for the Kashmiris - fighting for their right to self-determination.

Speaking at a news conference here along with Chairperson All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir in UK Parliament Debbie Abrahams, Qureshi said normal life remained paralysed due to restrictions since August last year in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The FM appreciated the United Nations Secretary-General’s remarks in which he called for implementing UN Security Council’s resolutions on Kashmir.

He also urged parliaments of various countries, including UK House of Commons, to pass unanimous resolutions on Kashmir just like Pakistan. UN chief Antonio Guterres left Pakistan yesterday after a successful visit where he appreciated Pakistan’s hosting of Afghan refugees for decades and supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir.

He said the UN resolutions on Kashmir should be implemented and acknowledged Pakistan’s peace efforts amid tension with India. Qureshi regretted that situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir was worsening after India’s unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 when New Delhi illegally merged Kashmir into its union territory.

“Indian brutal and real face stands exposed before the international community, and massive Indian brutalities are ringing wake up call for international community,” he added.

The foreign minister continued India had revealed its sham face of secularism and democracy by denying visit of an independent foreign group on Kashmir. He mentioned that All Parties Group of British parliamentarians presented a credible report on Kashmir situation in 2018, highlighting the ongoing atrocities by Indian security forces. He expressed hope that House of Commons, European parliament and US Congress would raise voice, similar to Pakistan where the parliament twice passed unanimous resolutions on Kashmir.

“The world’s parliaments should raise voice and back the international human rights organisations speaking on Kashmir,” he added.

He expressed fear that the disputed area could become a nuclear flashpoint with high prospects of making a global impact.

On slow progress on Kashmir’s resolution, he went onto say the government had revived the issue which was put on back-burner for several years. “After 54 years, we have taken up the issue at UN Security Council and thus, a beginning has been made,” he said, adding that the recent statement of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about UNSC Resolutions of being still relevant today was a great endorsement of Pakistan’s stance.

Qureshi dismissed a statement by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar who said only one of the two democracies would decide about the fate of Kashmir, saying that decision by the “so-called democracy” had already been taken on August 5 which was rejected by Kashmiris.

“Today, a huge segment of population including Muslims and other minorities call the Citizenship Amendment Act a folly of India,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Debbie Abrahams has slammed the Indian government for not allowing UK Parliamentary group to visit Occupied Kashmir, adding that the purpose of group’s planned visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Indian Occupied Kashmir was to review human rights situation there.

She said Islamabad extended all-out cooperation to UK Parliamentary Group for visiting Azad Kashmir, but New Delhi did not allow the group to visit Occupied Kashmir. Debbie Abrahams said head of UN Human Rights Commission would soon visit Pakistan and  India to collect documentary evidence about the prevailing situation in Kashmir.

She expressed the hope that India would cooperate with the commission just like the Pakistani government. To a question on UK’s response on looming threat of genocide in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, she made it clear the independent group did not represent the British government and could not speak on its behalf. However, she said the group had host of ways to draw attention to the relevant authorities in this regard.

Senior Vice-Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir Imran Hussain said the Kashmiri people were facing communication blackout in the held valley and they are unable to get access to the essential commodities, including medicines owing to continuous curfew. He added: “We are here to explore the human rights situation on the both sides of Line of Control.”