‘SAARC constrained because of attempts to utilize it for regional domination’
Pakistan has once again raised the Kashmir issue at the UN Security Council, seeking mediation from the world body and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to resolve the issue.
Speaking during an open debate on the subject of regional organisations and contemporary global security challenges yesterday, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said the 57-member OIC can also contribute to the promotion of global peace and prosperity.
"Collectively, and in cooperation with the UN, it has the capabilities to address and overcome these challenges including Palestine and other Middle East conflicts as well as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," she told the 15-member Council.
"The UN should actively promote cooperation with the OIC in areas such as: mediation and conciliation of disputes; peacekeeping and peace building; humanitarian assistance, especially to refugees and displaced people; and in addressing the root causes of conflicts and extremism," she added.
Her remarks came hours after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "serious concern" over the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Control and hoped that talks between the NSA of India and Pakistan will result in a "positive outcome."
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is scheduled to meet his Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi for talks on terrorism-related issues for the first time on August 23, as decided in a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif last month in Ufa in Russia.
Lodhi also made an apparent reference to India when she said the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was yet to fulfill its promise.
In a veiled attack on India, Lodhi, while talking about SAARC, stressed that the grouping had not been able to reach its potential like other regional organisations due to “attempts to utilise it for regional domination”.
“SAARC has been constrained because of the deep differences among its members and attempts to utilise it for regional domination,” Lodhi said.
Each regional organisation was unique, some had proven their worth, such as the European Union, African Union and Arab League while others such as SAARC were yet to fulfill that promise, she said.
Lodhi, in her remarks to the Security Council, said, “Its (OIC) members are involved-directly or indirectly-in the numerous security challenges, which bedevil the Middle East, Africa and beyond.”
She asserted that the OIC can contribute to the promotion of global peace.
Lodhi also called for political will among global and regional powers to use financial, scientific and organisational capabilities cooperatively and to “rise above their own narrow interests”.
Regional organisations could help address challenges, especially the economic and social dimensions, as well as promote closer political consultations required for addressing security dimensions, she said.
While they could promote mediation, arbitration and other peaceful means to resolve conflict, the United Nations had primacy as any enforcement action could only be authorised by the Council, Lodhi said.
In her speech, the Pakistani envoy also referred to the growing threats to peace and world order stemming from diverse sources—climate change, poverty, unemployment, especially among youth, water scarcity, record number of refugees and forced migrants, and the gross violations of human rights.
Lodhi said regional organisations can contribute to addressing many of these challenges.