Pakistan asks international community to refrain from calling Kashmir a ‘bilateral issue’ : The Tribune India


Arun Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 5 

Pakistan has launched an international campaign, through PoK leaders, asking the international community to refrain from terming Kashmir as a bilateral “dispute” between India and Pakistan.

It has launched a strong plea—to involve a third party—in order to resolve the issue before an escalation leads to a war between the two countries.

The campaign has been launched through webinars, in which PoK President Masood Khan stated that the United Kingdom—that ruled undivided India before the Partition in 1947—not to indulge in “diplomatic escapism” and desist from calling Kashmir a “ bilateral issue.”

This is the beginning of a large scale campaign, planned by Pakistan, to drum up support for third-party mediation on J&K.

In a webinar, titled ‘Twin Lockdown in Kashmir and Global Response’ organized on Saturday by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat-UK, a pro-Pakistan lobbyist group in the UK, POK president asked British Parliamentarians and civil society of Britain “to invoke 10 Downing Street and foreign office as also the Commonwealth office to reflect on the deteriorating situation in Kashmir.”

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat was founded by Syed Ali Shah Geelani in September 2003 after he had parted ways with the original Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Geelani had recently resigned from his faction of the Hurriyat Conference that included Tehreek-e-Hurriyat as one of the constituents.

In his resignation, Geelni had charged the APHC chapter of PoK with corruption.

Now, Pakistan is seeking to blunt his criticism and in the process is rebuffing its standpoint of resolving the issue through dialogue between Delhi and Islamabad.

Pakistani media reports quoted Labour MP Liam Byrne saying “the United Kingdom had to drop the pretence that this disputed issue must be resolved bilaterally. There should be impartial third-party mediation for the resolution of the issue in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.”

Byrne went to the extent of bringing a spectre of war between India and Pakistan. He said: “There was a risk of war if the situation escalated amongst the two neighbours.”

MP Nadia Whittome (Labour) demanded the withdrawal of troops and an end to human rights violations in ‘Occupied’ Kashmir. She said that Articles 35-A and 370 should be immediately restored.

Some British Parliamentarians, inclined to a third party resolving the issue, also took part in this webinar. The theme of the seminar was to present a picture of distress in Kashmir after August 5 last year when the Government of India had scraped the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into the two union territories.

India maintains that the only dispute is about the territories illegally occupied by Pakistan across the LoC, including PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. India has asked Pakistan to vacate these territories.


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