Pakistani official calls for peaceful solution to Kashmir dispute at UN

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi

28 September 2010 – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today that his country is willing to engage in a dialogue with India to find an “amicable” solution to the dispute over Kashmir, which he noted is one of the oldest on the agenda of the United Nations.

The princely state was split between India and Pakistan after they won independence from the United Kingdom in 1947.

“The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is about the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices,” Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at the Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

His country is gravely concerned over the prevailing situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, where he said more than 100 Kashmiris have been killed by Indian security forces over the past two months.

“We condemn this brutality,” Mr. Qureshi said.

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to violence in Kashmir after recent deadly clashes.

“The Secretary-General regrets the latest loss of life,” his spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in response to questions. “He calls for an immediate end to violence and urges calm and restraint by all concerned.”

Mr. Qureshi said today that the Kashmiri people’s human rights must be respected “and their voices heard to create an enabling environment for a peaceful solution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”

He reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with the Kashmiri people, urging the international community to persuade India “to end its repression in Kashmir.”

The official stressed that a peaceful resolution to the dispute, in line with UN resolutions and taking the Kashmiri people’s aspirations into account, “would create [a] conducive atmosphere for durable peace and stability in the South Asian region.”

The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has been deployed to observe a ceasefire in disputed Jammu and Kashmir since 1949.

In his address today, Mr. Qureshi also expressed his gratitude to the UN, Pakistan’s development partners and others for their support following the deadly flooding.

Earlier this month, the UN and its partners launched their largest-ever natural disaster appeal, seeking more than $2 billion for millions of Pakistani flood victims devastated by nearly two months of massive inundations in what the Secretary-General called the worst such disaster that the UN has faced.

Overall the floods in Pakistan have affected more than 20 million people, equivalent to over 10 per cent of the population, and the new $2.07-billion appeal will provide aid for up to 14 million people over a 12-month period.

“The Government remains focused in its resolve to address the challenges posed by this humanitarian crisis,” Mr. Qureshi said today.

“We are determined to build back a better and vibrant Pakistan, and to do so in a transparent and accountable manner,” he added. “The resilience of our people should enable us to achieve this objective.”

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