ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will raise the Kashmir issue when Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaks during the UN general debate when world leaders meet in New York next week, said Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
“When the bilateral talks have been stopped in its tracks by the Indian government, then, I think, for Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue internationally becomes even more important,” Quartz India quoted her as saying. “It’s very important for the international community to hear Pakistan, and they will hear Pakistan,” she said.
She said that the world would hear Pakistan loud and clear. “That, this is not the way that we can get to peace in our region,” she said. In response, Indian Ambassador to UN Syed Akbaruddin said that Pakistan was free to raise the issue. “There is no restriction of anybody raising any issue of their interest,” he said.
“They tried it last year, end number of times. “However, they did not get the support of one country,” he said. The dialogue process between Pakistan and India has been suspended since last year. “We have repeatedly said that for any dialogue, there needs to be a conducive atmosphere. Create that atmosphere, we’re ready to talk,” he added.
Maleeha emphasised that with talks suspended, Pakistan expects to gain more traction from the international community. “We will continue to raise Kashmir at this world stage in the most, sort of, explicit of ways. We’ll make sure that the international community knows where we are, and how the Kashmiri people look towards the United Nations to fulfill its long-standing obligations,” she said.
“This (Kashmir) is an issue that, obviously, Prime Minister Abbasi will raise with the UN secretary general and with leaders from different countries,” she said. Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, quoted as saying that despite Pakistan’s attempts to project Kashmir as a major global flashpoint, it’s really an off-the-radar issue in most key capitals, most especially Washington.
“For western capitals, the threat perception posed by Kashmir is so much lower than that of North Korea and the Islamic State, among others,” he said. “Pakistan has been under pressure for years, and it has always managed to wiggle out of it while not addressing the very issue that precipitates the pressure,” he said, adding that Pakistan tends to use the annual UN General Assembly meetings as an opportunity to bring attention to the Kashmir crisis.