The UN secretary-general’s visit to Pakistan has come at an opportune moment. The purpose of his visit was two-fold: attend a conference on Afghan refugees and deliver a keynote address on...
The UN secretary-general’s visit to Pakistan has come at an opportune moment. The purpose of his visit was two-fold: attend a conference on Afghan refugees and deliver a keynote address on sustainable development. But the highlight of his visit was his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. The points he highlighted deserve serious consideration. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has once again stressed that diplomacy and dialogue are the only tools that guarantee peace and stability. He has also emphasized that solutions to conflicts must be sought in accordance with the UN Charter and the resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. The secretary-general did not mince his words while underscoring the violations of fundamental rights in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). His support to Pakistan was unequivocal when he praised the steps Pakistan has taken against terror outfits.
Let’s not forget that the UN has offered its mediation between India and Pakistan multiple times in the past and Pakistan has been more than willing to accept any such mediation, be it from the UN or any other international body or world leader. Essentially it is India that has been backtracking on its commitments to the UN and has repeatedly violated the UN resolutions that call for an amicable solution to this problem through a plebiscite. But the UN cannot impose its mediation if any one of the parties involved does not accept the offer. And that’s what has been happening. India’s persistent denial and refusal to accept international mediation have hampered peace negotiations. And now the Modi government’s unilateral announcement of annexing the IOK in August 2019 has exacerbated the situation not only in Kashmir but has also jeopardized peace efforts. Antonio Guterres has been voicing his concerns at human rights violations in IOK.
The UN secretary-general also referred to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reports on the situation in IOK. Regarding Pakistan’s efforts to fighting terrorism, he appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to curb and eliminate terrorism in this region. He said he was convinced and could testify that Pakistan had been able to quash terrorism with serious efforts and sacrifices. This visit of the head of the United Nations has also been pretty useful in highlighting Pakistan unceasing and unconditional hospitality to Afghan refugees. The UN has been a major partner in Pakistan’s effort to host Afghan refugees and also in providing help in repatriating them so that they can go back to their country and start afresh a new life. One hopes that the UN chief’s visit translates into something practically positive for the Kashmiris.