NEW YORK – Reaffirming Pakistan’s intention to take the case of India’s “illegal” annexation of occupied Kashmir to the UN Security Council, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has said that her government was prepared to use any diplomatic and political option to secure justice for the oppressed Kashmiri people.
“We are ready for bilateral, multilateral any format (of mediation) so long as we can get justice for the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” she said in an interview with Sky News, a British television network, in the course of her intense lobbying efforts at the United Nations. “When the other country (India) does not want to be a partner for peace, we then look towards the world. And we look towards mediators, we look towards United Nations,” the Pakistani envoy remarked.
Ms. Lodhi has already briefed Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, who is the president of the 15-member Council for the month of August, on the grave crisis sparked off by India’s action in Kashmir. She has also met a number of her counterparts, including those who are permanent and non-permanent Council members, as well as senior U.N. officials.
Replying to questions, Ambassador Lodhi expressed satisfaction on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ statement on the escalating crisis, saying it would be up to the Security Council now to address this issue.
“It (the crisis) is a major threat to international peace and security,” the Pakistani envoy said. “It is also an issue of whether we want to live in a rules-based international order where people abide by Security Council resolutions or do we want to live in a world where countries get up and unilaterally take actions that pose a threat to not just their neighbour but to the whole world actually.
Pakistan, she said, does not wish to see a conflict and would not do anything anything to escalate the situation.
“War is not on the table,” the envoy said.
“The aggressor and the country that escalated the situation and taken us to the edge of the precipice is India, and I think what we will do at the United Nations is to take up the issue at the Security Council. after all the UN has an outstanding responsibilities to deal with this issue.” In this regard, Ambassador Lodhi said there were as many as 11 Security Council resolutions that promise the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people and which now must be implemented.
“What is at stake here is the destiny, the future and the lives of over 14 million people who been turned into hostages, there is huge military presence in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir so I think what you will see my country doing is to take this issue up at the diplomatic level and use all political means to ensure that we get justice for the Kashmiri people,” she said.
“Our message to the Kashmiri people is (that) you are not alone, you will never be alone, we are with you and we will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that your plight (is ended).
“Ultimately this issue, in the first instance, this issue is about human suffering, it’s about the plight of the people who have been deprived of their liberty for over 70 years and now they are on the edge of being deprived of everything else. They cannot leave their homes, their leaders have been arrested, there are food shortages and above all now there is an assault on their very identity. So, Pakistan will stand with the people of Kashmir and we will do whatever we can to ensure that there is justice,” the envoy said.
“We would like the international community to step up to the plate, to stand on the side of law, justice and fairness and also to deliver on the pledges that were made to the people of Kashmir by the Indian leadership itself years and years ago, Indian leaders pledged and promised a plebiscite for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, so that they could freely decide their destiny. So, if you believe in democracy and if you believe in liberty and if you believe in human rights. Why is it denied to the people of Occupied Kashmir?”