Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday welcomed the U.N. Security Council’s decision to discuss tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir, a day after India slammed the rare meeting.
Tensions have soared since New Delhi earlier this month stripped India-Occupied Kashmir of its autonomy, sparking calls from Islamabad for the international community to intervene on the decades-old issue.
“I welcome the UNSC meeting to discuss the serious situation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” Khan tweeted after Friday’s talks in New York, the first to focus on the Himalayan region since 1971. “Addressing the suffering of the Kashmiri people & ensuring resolution of the dispute is the responsibility of this world body,” he said.
India has always insisted the Kashmir issue can only be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan and New Delhi’s ambassador to the U.N., Syed Akbaruddin, expressed annoyance over the council talks on Friday.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who spoke to Khan on Friday, has urged the nuclear-armed rivals to return to the negotiating table.
Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two archrivals. Earlier this year, the rivals again came close to all-out conflict, after a militant attack in Indian-Occupied Kashmir in February that was perpetrated by a local separatist was claimed by a group based in Pakistan, igniting tit-for-tat airstrikes. Tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, have died in an uprising against Indian rule that has raged since 1989.