Pakistan has raised the Kashmir issue at a UN committee saying the “decolonisation agenda” of the world body would be incomplete without resolution of the problem, drawing a strong reaction from India which asserted that the state is its integral part.
Speaking at a special committee of the General Assembly that addresses the issue of decolonisation, Amjad Hussain B Sial, Pakistan’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, asked the international community to support the Kashmiri people’s “right to self-determination”.
“The decolonisation agenda of the United Nations would be incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue,” he said.
“Negation of the right to self-determination breeds discontent, ignites conflicts and threatens peace and security. Unfortunately, South Asia and Middle East have witnessed it directly,” Sial said.
Countering the claims made by Sial, senior Indian diplomat Anupam Ray, exercising his ‘right to reply’, said that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
“Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and participates in the democratic process of India,” Ray said.
The Indian side maintained that Kashmir remained a bilateral issue. “It has always been a bilateral issue and should not be addressed in multilateral fora,” Ray noted.
Ray expressed regret that Pakistan had reverted to “language of the past” and was “not addressing the crying need of the hour, which is dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism and tacking the perpetrators of terrorism”.
Sial, in his speech, claimed that Kashmir was not an integral part of India.
“The Security Council and the UN, in several resolutions, have recognised it as disputed territory,” he said, adding that the final solution should be made in accordance with the “will” of the people expressed through “free and fair plebiscite” conducted by the United Nations.
Insisting that Jammu and Kashmir remained an “international issue”, Sial said Pakistan “reserves the right to refer this issue at the UN as necessary”.
The senior Pakistan diplomat also reaffirmed Islamabad’s pledge to work through peaceful means to resolve its differences with New Delhi on the Kashmir issue, which is imperative for durable peace, stability and progress in the region.
The Special Committee on Decolonisation was created in 1962 by the UN General Assembly to support and monitor a resolution passed in 1960 that declared that all people have a right to self-determination.