Pakistan’s foreign minister says emerging movement will strengthen diplomatic outreach on disputed region
The Kashmiri struggle for their right to self-determination has taken a new turn with a political resistance movement gaining ground in India-held Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he said that six political parties of the region had rejected Delhi’s abrogation of Kashmir’s special constitutional status. This alliance, he said, had vowed to unite in a struggle to revert India-held Kashmir to its pre-Aug. 5, 2019 status.
Terming this an important development, Qureshi said the joint statement issued by India-held Kashmir’s political parties included the signature of former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, and was supported by the Congress party, which is currently the main opposition party in India. “This is a clear message to the [Narendra] Modi government that Kashmir is united against its illegal steps,” he added.
The foreign minister stressed that it was a major occurrence that pro-India parties had also stopped looking toward Delhi for succor, and reiterated that it was merely the first manifestation of an emerging political resistance movement. “This would strengthen our diplomatic outreach on Kashmir,” he added.
Qureshi noted that Delhi had attempted to change the demography of India-held Kashmir and imposed a communications blackout but had not shaken the resolve of the Kashmiri people.
To a question, the foreign minister stressed that Saudi Arabia’s support for Kashmir had not changed. He said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation had passed several unambiguous resolutions in support of oppressed Kashmiris. He also noted that China had advocated resolving the Kashmir dispute as per U.N. resolutions.
The foreign minister also rejected the impression of a breakdown in Pak-Saudi ties, reiterating they were “long-standing” and “people-centric.” He said both countries were united in their stance on Palestine and—in a change from his earlier stance—did not make any new mention of a foreign ministers meeting of OIC member states on Kashmir.
“We are discussing various proposals about how to take the Kashmir issue forward [at OIC],” he said. On Aug. 5, Qureshi had warned of convening a meeting of Muslim countries outside the OIC if Saudi Arabia continued to dither on calling a meeting. “Since Pak-Saudi ties are strong, people have expectations from them on Kashmir, which they keep expressing,” he maintained.
To a question, the foreign minister said a delegation of the Afghan Taliban had reached Pakistan for consultations, adding that Islamabad was facilitating the peace talks with Kabul and had helped produce a landmark peace accord between the U.S. and the insurgents. He said the next logical step was intra-Afghan talks, which should be started at the earliest.
Qureshi said China has also supported the Afghan peace process, adding that a large number of people in Afghanistan desired peace and stability in their country.
To another question, the foreign minister said Pakistan and China were resolutely pursuing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, adding the pace of implementation would increase shortly. CPEC would benefit not only Pakistan and China, but would also lead to regional connectivity, he added.