India is a threat to regional peace; Maleeha Lodhi tells UN
UNITED NATIONS (APP): Pakistan has told the U.N. General Assembly that India had created conditions that threaten regional peace and security by engaging in unprovoked shelling across the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmiri region, and urged the United Nations to help resolve the Kashmir problem.
"The UN is obliged play a role in bringing an end to human rights abuses and facilitate a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, through a free and fair plebiscite under its auspices," Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said.
Speaking in a debate on the report of the secretary-general on the work of the organization, the Pakistani envoy pointed out that sovereign equality of States, settlement of international disputes, and avoidance of the use or threat of use of force were fundamental UN Charter principles, and said, "These very principles inspire us to look to the, and United Nations to play its due role in promoting lasting peace in South Asia and live up to its longstanding obligations to the people of Kashmir."
India's continuing denial of the UN-promised right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people had sparked another indigenous and popular uprising in occupied Kashmir and also led to tensions in the region, she said.
"The struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination is a legitimate one," Ambassador Lodhi said, adding they have the right to receive international community's moral and political support.
She reiterated her country's demand for an independent inquiry into human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, while welcoming the call by the UN's High Commisioner for Human Rights for "unfettered and unconditional" access for impartial monitoring the situation there.
India, she told delegates from around the world, does not even allow UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) to fully function and to report to the Security Council so that it can address threats to international peace and security.
"It is regrettable that by its recent declarations and actions, India has created conditions that pose a threat to peace and security in the region. In the past few weeks India has engaged in unprovoked shelling across wide swathes along the Line of Control." Ambassador Lodhi added.
"This continues to this day."
Pakistan, she said, has exercised restraint in the face of such belligerence, as Islamabad stood for a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Kashmir, the settlement of which is even more urgent today.
"We stand ready to engage in meaningful dialogue, which is in the interest of all the people of our region," Ambassador Lodhi said, adding, "It is for India to take the first step, for it is India that is responsible for escalating the current situation."
Emphasizing that the terrorist threat had become more pervasive and posed an even greater danger to international peace and security, she said Pakistan had been at the forefront of the global campaign to eliminate that scourge.
"We will fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whether sponsored by militant fanatics or hostile powers," the ambassador said. "We have made substantial gains but our campaign will end only when the last terrorist has been eliminated from the country."
"In our turbulent yet interdependent world, the United Nations remains indispensable to restore order and ensure global peace, stability and prosperity," she said, adding that a more representative, accountable and transparent Organization was needed, including through comprehensive and democratic reform of the Security Council.
In the course of his speech, India's UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin accused Pakistan of misusing the forum by raising the Kashmir dispute.
Pakistan responded by saying that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir could not be wished away by fanciful claims and cast aside by empty rhetoric.The issue of Jammu and Kashmir must be dealt with in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, Pakistani delegate Saima Syed said. There was a need to start a dialogue and resolve the issue in line with the wishes of the Kashmiri people, she added.