Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has written a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Security Council President Karen Pierce, asking them to reject India’s decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories, the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday. The bifurcation came into effect on October 31.
“Pakistan continues to internationally highlight the dire situation in the Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and the plight of the Kashmiri people in the face of inhuman lockdown since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019,” the ministry said in an official statement.
“Among other things, the Foreign Minister conveyed Pakistan’s rejection of the ‘bifurcation’ of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir; highlighted the continued violation of human rights by Indian occupation forces; underlined India’s belligerent rhetoric and actions vis-à-vis Pakistan; and reiterated the call for strengthening of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan,” the ministry said. It added that at Islamabad’s request, the letter has been circulated to member states of the United Nations, as an official document to the Security Council.
This is the sixth letter Qureshi has written to the United Nations against India’s actions on Kashmir. On August 5, apart from bifurcating the state into Union Territories, New Delhi had also scrapped its special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
In his latest letter, Qureshi said that India’s actions in Kashmir were in complete violation of several Security Council resolutions. They are therefore, “null and void” in terms of international law, Qureshi argued.
“In parallel, the inhuman lockdown that was started after the illegal and unilateral actions of the Indian Government on 5 August 2019, is now closing in on three months,” Qureshi added. “The iron curtain that has descended on IOJ&K, holding over 8 million Kashmiris under siege, has no parallel in recent history.”
Qureshi also said Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s claim that India had destroyed terror launchpads on the Pakistani side of Kashmir was “baseless”. He claimed instead that India had resorted to “unprovoked” ceasefire violations, targeting civilians in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. The foreign minister claimed that there were in fact no terrorist camps or launch pads on its side of the border.
“This episode once again exposes the intent of the Indian government, which seems willing to go to any extent to malign Pakistan, and take actions to divert international attention from the nightmare the people of IOJ&K are going through,” Qureshi added. The foreign minister highlighted a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Kashmir, in which the commissioner had described the situation as of concern.
The commissioner had called on India to “fully restore” rights denied to Kashmir since the abrogation of special status. India had imposed a curfew in the state and cut off all communications systems. Though postpaid mobile phone services have been resumed, internet remains unavailable, and most leading Kashmiri politicians are under detention.
“Let me also call on the Security Council to remain actively seized of the matter and urgently address the deteriorating situation in the region, that is threatening regional peace and security,” Qureshi concluded.