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February 17, 2020

If Pakistan, India agree: UN secretary general offers mediation on Kashmir

Top Story

February 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Sunday once again offered mediation between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue provided both sides asked him.

“I have offered my good offices but this has to be accepted by both sides. Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability with solutions in accordance with the Charter of United Nations and resolutions of the Security Council," Guterres responded to a question at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at theForeign Office. The UN secretary General said he was deeply concerned about the present situation. He also pointed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) reports on the situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

He also lauded Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism. “I can testify and am convinced with the steps taken by Pakistan against the terror organizations”.

He said one of the main purposes of his visit to Pakistan was to spotlight the real Pakistan, with all its possibilities and potential. Urging full respect for human and fundamental rights in the IOK, he at the same time said both India and Pakistan while exercising maximum restrain need also to de-escalate, both militarily and verbally.

Commenting on the continued ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC), the secretary general said he remained concerned and that the United Nations Military Observers Group India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be given full mandate both in Pakistan and India.

Recalling steps taken by Pakistan to fight terrorism, Guterres said he remembered being in Islamabad when the Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had occupied the Swat valley and were very near Islamabad.

“But now Islamabad is a UN family station and the situation is much more better and Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism are appreciable and remarkable… the whole world needs to acknowledge the country’s achievement”, he remarked.

He also lauded the contributions made by Pakistan towards UN peacekeeping operations around the world. On Afghan situation, the secretary general said a durable peace and opportunities for livelihood would attract the Afghan refugees back to their homeland but they should return in safety and with dignity. To a query on Islamophobia, the secretary general said this was unacceptable and intolerable.

“We have launched a UN initiative against hate speech,” he added. He appreciated Pakistan’s initiative of the Kartarpur Corridor which he said was a symbol of interfaith harmony leading to peace in the region.

Meanwhile Shah Mahmood Qureshi assured the secretary general that Pakistan remained committed to the principles and values of the UN charter, adding that this was the most ‘interesting’ and ‘reverting’ meeting he had had with him.

“We support multilateralism instead of unilateralism. We saw one example of unilateralism on August 5 last year”, he said pointing to the annexation of IOK by India. He said more than 200 days had passed since the siege and lockdown of eight million Kashmiris and compromising of fundamental freedoms in the held territory.

“We have expectations from the UN secretary general as he is the custodian of UN charter and for this responsibility we have some expectations from him,” said Qureshi urging him to ensure that the UNSC resolution on Kashmir was binding to allow Kashmiris their fundamental rights.

On Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that there is need to agree to a time bound roadmap for the repatriation of the Afghan refugees which should be also supported by the international community.