Diplomatic offensive in top gear
ISLAMABAD – In the face of Indian warmongering, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood offensive to show the true perspective of Pulwama attack and Pakistan’s position on it to international community, and to expose the New Delhi’s jingoism and its attempt to flare up tension in the region.
In this connection, Qureshi spoke to Foreign Minister of UAE Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan; his Sri Lankan counterpart Tilak Marapana and Foreign Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, and shared with them the situation emanating out of Pulwama attack and the unreasonable position India had taken on it imperilling the regional peace and tranquillity.
Qureshi also wrote a letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner to apprise him about the worsening human rights situation in occupied Kashmir following the Pulwama attack and sought his intervention to help save people of Kashmir from the worst sort of rights violation with no parallel in recorded human history.
On Friday, the Foreign Minister had also written a letter to UN Secretary General seeking his role in defusing the current tension in the region while in another letter addressed to the UN Security Council President; he drew his attention towards the tension in Pak-India relations following the Pulwama attack and implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.
The aggressive diplomacy by Pakistan has put the Indian government on defensive and even people from within India were seeing the post-Pulwama scenario with suspicion and even main opposition Congress had put Modi and his BJP government on mat and charged that Modi was trying to use Pulwama attack for its political motives.
Qureshi had also held telephonic conversation with his Turkish counterpart, who had also rejected the Indian allegations of Islamabad’s involvement in Pulwama incident.
UAE appreciates Pak desire for peace
Foreign Minister Qureshi called his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discussed the evolving regional and international situation.
Briefing the UAE Foreign Minister on the situation after the Pulwama incident, Qureshi stressed that instead of baseless allegations and aggressive rhetoric emanating from India, Pakistan had offered cooperation in investigating the incident and had asked New Delhi to share any actionable evidence in this regard.
Appreciating Pakistan’s position, the UAE Foreign Minister said that he was looking forward to meeting Qureshi at the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting.
Sri Lanka staunchly supports peace
Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday spoke to his Sri Lankan counterpart Tilak Marapana and discussed the security situation in the region.
During the conversation, Qureshi said that Pakistan attached great importance to its ties with Sri Lanka, which was an important neighbour and friend, said a Foreign Office statement.
He said that Pakistan was a responsible country which desired peace and stability in the region. Peace is a precursor for socioeconomic benefits and prosperity, he remarked.
He also informed the Sri Lankan foreign minister that in his letter to the President of the UNSC, he had underscored the importance of maintaining a peaceful South Asia.
In his response, the Sri Lankan foreign minister said that his country staunchly supported peace in the region and Sri Lanka reiterated that maintaining stability in South Asia should be a priority for all countries.
Regional peace in interest of all: Nepal
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke to Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the Foreign Minister of Nepal, which is also the Chair of SAARC, and discussed the evolving peace and security situation in the region.
The Foreign Minister said that SAARC was a forum established to bring the countries of the region together and therefore, Nepal as the Chair could play a constructive role in this regard. Pakistan attaches great importance to its neighbours and South Asia and believes in lasting peace, he said.
Nepali Foreign Minister said that peace and the security of the region was a primary responsibility of all. Nepal as a member of SAARC and friend of Pakistan firmly believes that peace is in the interest of everyone, the Nepali foreign minister said.
Qureshi invites UNHRC attention to atrocities in IOK
Qureshi said that in the aftermath of Pulwama incident, the human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir in particular and in India as a whole, was now turning from bad to worse.
“As if use of pellet guns against Kashmiri protestors, the outright refusal by India to initiate political dialogue with the Kashmiris and Pakistan, ongoing “shoot to kill” orders against Kashmiris, were not enough; there is now a concerted campaign to whip up hatred and violence against Kashmiris and discrimination against them across India,” the foreign minister said in a letter addressed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the increasing human rights violations in IOK and related issues.
“The troubling situation in Jammu and Kashmir also warrants attention from the international humanitarian law perspective, especially the four Geneva Conventions. Given the active nature of armed conflict in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, it is imperative to impress upon India to faithfully adhere to its obligations under the Conventions to which it is a party,” he added.
The foreign minister urged the UN High Commissioner to issue a call on India to allow unhindered access to UN mechanisms to the IOK. India must also be obliged to comply with its international humanitarian law obligations with respect to IoK.
The foreign minister had written the letter to follow up on his earlier letter dated 16 December 2018, regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Foreign office Saturday said while sharing the text of the letter with media.
He said that the attack in Pulwama on Indian paramilitary personnel on February 14 needed to be seen in an objective manner.
“That Indian government chose to immediately externalise blame for this attack without investigations fits a known policy approach. Such an approach is clearly manifest in its attempts to divert global attention from the continuing grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and brand those seeking to safeguard their legitimate political and human rights including the right to self-determination as ‘terrorists’,” he said.
Qureshi mentioned that that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally-recognised disputed territory, which India continued to occupy in violation of international law.
He said that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir remained an outstanding item on the agenda of the UN Security Council. India continued to demonstrate its non-compliance with several Security Council resolutions on this subject.
The foreign minister said that by a conservative estimate, more than 100,000 Kashmiris had died in their quest to achieve freedom from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been tortured, maimed or summarily executed by the Indian occupying forces.
There were known allegations of sexual violence against Kashmiri women. As a result, there was hardly any individual in the IOK who hasn’t lost a loved one, a friend, or a close a relative since the Kashmiris launched their indigenous struggle in 1989, he added.
Qureshi said that the widespread repression by more than 700,000 Indian security personnel deployed in the IOK have alienated Kashmiris, particularly the youth.
The Pulwama attack, by India’s own accounts, was carried out by a young Kashmiri, who had been under Indian captivity. The causes of extreme discontentment and resulting violence were not hard to find.
The Indian government was leveraging this incident for electoral gains in the forthcoming general elections, and in that process, it was constricting space for a political dialogue and negotiations with both the Kashmiris and Pakistan.
“Even more worryingly, the Indian government has chosen to remain silent in the wake of the most appalling acts of violence against Kashmiris, perpetrated by extremist elements,” he added.
He said that Pakistan welcomed the call made earlier this week on India by European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights to end its atrocities in occupied Kashmir. “These growing voices of concern against the well-entrenched India regime of human rights violations are consistent with the reports of your office last June as well as that of All Parties Parliamentary Group of the UK in 2018,” he further added.
The foreign minister also welcomed the concerns expressed by UN High Commissioner on February 19 on the use of Pulwama attack by such elements as justification for threats and violence against Kashmiris and Muslims in various parts of India.
“While we fully share these concerns, we would request you to continue monitoring of the situation and call for protecting people from all forms of harm on account of their identity and ethnicity,” he added.