A top Pakistani diplomat has fervently called for a settlement of the decades-old Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan for establishing lasting peace in the region, while denouncing attempts by occupiers to conflate freedom struggles with terrorism.
Speaking in a General Assembly’s committee, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, said the Kashmiri people’s struggle for liberation from illegal occupation was “legitimate” and they have the right to receive moral and political support from the international community.
“Under international law and according to declarations of the United Nations on Self-Determination, the Kashmiris have the right to struggle for their right to self-determination ‘by all means at their disposal’”, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the 193-member Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural questions.
Pakistan, she said, remained committed to a just solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people, and relevant Security Council resolutions that call for the exercise of right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through a U.N.-supervised plebiscite.
“Peace in South Asia cannot be achieved without a just resolution of the Kashmir dispute,” the Pakistani envoy said while participating in a debate on the Right to Self-Determination.
“Fulfillment of the long-held promise of self-determination to the Kashmiri people is thus urgent as well as vital to establishing lasting peace in our region.”
At the outset, Ambassador Lodhirecalled that the right to self-determination was sanctified in foundations of United Nations. Yet, for countless people, the promise of freedom remained elusive. Every occupier used the same narrative and means to justify oppression: equating freedom struggles with terrorism, using brute force and blaming others.
However, she said, the spirit of a people could not be broken by brutal repression. “Might does not make right,” she said. “It never did and never will.”
The Pakistani envoy expressed concern over the situation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who were waiting for their rights to be realized despite numerous Security Council resolutions.
“Today, a new generation of Kashmiris has risen to demand freedom from India’s illegal occupation,” Ambassador Lodhi said. “This uprising is led mainly by Kashmiri youth, armed with nothing more than a hunger of freedom in their hearts and a belief in the righteousness of their cause,” she said.
“Day after day they brave bullets and curfews to press their right to self-determination,” she reminded delegates from around the world.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Ambassadors in New York, the Pakistani envoy called for keeping the situation in Kashmir on the agenda of the 57-member body’s Human Right Committee.
At the same time, Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan was grateful for OIC’s support to the people of Kashmir and urged sustained attention to the grave situation. She told the meeting
about the killings in Kashmir and said India’s brutal repression and its fallout posed a threat to the region’s peace and security.
During the Third Committee’s proceedings, an Indian delegate, responding to Ambassador’s Lodhi’s statement, attempted to depict Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom as terrorism, but a Pakistani delegate forcefully rejected that notion, saying it was a peaceful movement for liberation from India’s yoke.
Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage