Unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains a "blot on conscience of humanity", the Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday, and asserted that Islamabad desires a relationship with India based on "sovereign equality" and "mutual respect." He also sought resolution of disputes through a "serious and comprehensive dialogue that covers all issues of concern."
"We (Pakistan) were to meet on the sidelines of this UNGA session to talk about all issues with India. India called off dialogue the third time during the (Narendra) Modi government—each time on flimsy grounds. They preferred politics over peace. They used the pretext of stamps issued months ago of a Kashmiri activist and depicting grave human rights violations, including pellet gun victims, as an excuse to back out from the talks," Qureshi said at the 73rd UN general assembly debate. "Dialogue is the only way to address long-standing issues that have long bedeviled South Asia, and prevented the region from realising its true potential. The unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute hinders the realisation of the goal of durable peace between our two countries. For over 70 years now, it has remained on the agenda of the UN Security Council and a blot on the conscience of humanity," he said.
"For seventy years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have struggled for their rights of self-determination in the face of overwhelming oppression and gross violations of their fundamental human rights by the Indian forces. There can be no lasting peace in South Asia without a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute based on the UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the Kashmiri people," Qureshi, who delivered his speech in Urdu, said.
Pakistan, he said, also welcomes the recently-released report by the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights (UNHRC). "The report rightly lifts the veil from decades of obfuscation and chronicles the massive ongoing violations of human rights in Kashmir. It vindicates our position. No longer the excuse of terrorism can be used to continue to systematically oppress the Kashmiri people. Pakistan endorses the UN report and calls for early institution of a commission of inquiry under UN auspices to investigate and fix responsibility," Qureshi said.
"We will welcome the commission to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and hope that India too, will do the same. To divert the world's attention from its brutalities, India frequently violates the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir. Despite numerous violations, Pakistan has acted with restraint. But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of 'limited' war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response," he said.
"Pakistan remains host to one of the oldest peace keeping Missions, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). We greatly value UNMOGIP's contribution in monitoring ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir," he said. Pakistan is also ready to engage with India for meaningful confidence building, risk reduction and avoidance of arms race, Qureshi said.
'PAK FACES TERRORISM'
He said that Pakistan continues to "face terrorism that is financed, facilitated and orchestrated by our eastern neighbour."
"We wanted to sit with India to discuss all issues, including terrorism, that have created violence in our cities and towns, and have led to tens of thousands of casualties of innocent Pakistanis. Pakistan shall never forget the mass murder of more than 150 children in a Peshawar school, the terrible Mastung attack and many others that have links with terrorists supported by India. And we will never forget the terrorist attack in India against Samjhota Express carrying innocent Pakistanis—and now its confessed perpetrators are being allowed to walk free," he said, adding: "We wanted to share this evidence with India and the international community on who supported these acts of violence and terrorism. We have already shared this evidence with the UN. We have in our custody a serving Indian Naval officer, Commander KalbhushanYadav, who has provided us with the most incriminating evidence by accepting that he, on the instructions of his government, financed, planned and executed acts of terrorism and violence in Pakistan. This is but one India-sponsored official terrorist. Many more are launched inside Pakistan to create terror and mayhem by our eastern neighbour."
"It is the concern of the United Nations, as Jammu and Kashmir remains on the agenda of the UN Security Council. And it is a matter of concern for the international community as humanity is being crushed and human rights being violated all over India, where people have stood up against oppression and to demand their fundamental rights. It is also a matter of concern of the international community that India has sponsored terrorism and aggression against all its neigbours," Qureshi said.
'BELT AND ROAD IS PATH-BREAKING INITIATIVE'
"The vision of Belt and Road is a path-breaking initiative by a world leader of great sagacity and foresight to create a community of common destiny. It is a global common good beneficial to all. Our vision for China Pakistan Economic Corridor is to help translate our goo-strategic potential into geo-economic dividend. Pakistan looks to offer the vital connectivity nodes linking the Middle East with western China, and affording Central Asia the shortest most feasible access to the Sea," he said.
ON WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
That there is no military solution to the war in Afghanistan is now a foregone conclusion, he said. "It is time to act upon that conclusion. A negotiated settlement has assumed urgency in the face of the worrisome and growing presence of Daesh in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to lend its support to an Afghan owned and Afghan led process of peace and reconciliation."
"In our own national interest, and in line with our National Action Plan, we will continue to strengthen our counter terrorism frameworks and regimes." Agencies