By Muhammad Luqman
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged for full respect to human and fundamental rights in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and implementation of the relevant UN resolutions on the issue.
Addressing a joint news conference along with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the capital,Islamabad on Sunday, he said ‘we have taken solid position for the UN Security council resolutions to be adopted and offered our good offices for resolving issues between Pakistan and India, if both sides agree’.
The UN Secretary General said the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Paksitan (UNMOGIP) is continually monitoring the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. He said the UN was deeply concerned over the tensions between India and Pakistan last year and asked both sides for restraint, as dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to solve the problems.
Antonio Guterres while appreciating the initiative of construction of Kartarpur Corridor said it is a symbol of interfaith harmony and will promote peace in the region.
He said Pakistan is a responsible member of the United Nations and it will be fully supported in dispensing its responsibilities.
The UN Chief said his visit to Pakistan is to acknowledge the great generosity and hospitality that Pakistan extended to Afghan refugees for over forty years, despite its limited resources and challenges.
Hailing the contributions of Pakistan in UN peacekeeping operations around the world, he said Pakistani men and women are serving with full dedication and commitment to promote the values of the UN.
Antonio Guttres said he had also discussed with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a number of issues, including regional security.
The UN Secretary General said Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism are commendable and very successful. He said due to these efforts, now Islamabad has become a safe family station for UN staff.
On Afghan situation, he said political solution and permanent ceasefire is the only way forward to durable peace in Afghanistan which will foster the repatriation process of Afghan refugees. He urged Pakistan to continue playing its pivotal role in sustainable peace in the neighboring country.
In reply to a question, he said we need to fight Islamophobia strongly. He said hate speeches are the main cause of Islamophobia and we are committed to fight against all forms of populism that contributes in such narrative. He said his tomorrow’s visit to Kartarpur corridor will be a symbol of dialogue and tolerance.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister urged the UN Secretary General to play his role as the people of Pakistan and Kashmir are hopeful that the UN Security Council will soon give them legal, legitimate and democratic voting rights.
He said taht one example of unilateralism is the illegal act of August 5, 2019, by India. He said that Pakistan has conveyed to the general secretary about the challenging situation arising out of this unilateral act. He also said that all shades of Kashmiri opinion have rejected that action. “We also discussed increased ceasefire violations after the August 5,” he added.
FM Qureshi said that more than 200 days have passed since the siege and lockdown of eight million Kashmiris and compromising of fundamental freedoms in the held territory. He said UN secretary general is the custodian of UN charter and for this responsibility, Pakistan has some expectations from him. He urged the UN chief to reaffirm the biding nature of the Security Council’s resolutions, besides highlighting the restoration of fundamental rights and freedom of movement and urging India to respect the 2003 ceasefire violations agreement.
The foreign minister said he has also asked the UN Chief to ensure freedom of movement of UNMOGIP to fulfil its mandate on the Indian side, just like it enjoys in the Pakistani area.
FM Qureshi said that he also shared the initiatives of the government on socio-economic welfare with the secretary general, including the Ehsaas program, health facility programme and sustainable development goals. He further said they had unanimity of views on climate challenge issues.
By Muhammad Luqman