UNITED NATIONS: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said that the blistering report of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Indian brutalities in held Kashmir has revived interest in the dispute at an international level.
He said this while giving his impressions about the intensive round of talks he had with his counterparts from around the world at the United Nations (UN).
“There was a perceptible difference in their attitude towards Kashmir as the report focuses on the humanitarian aspect of the dispute,” Qureshi told reporters as he wound up his six-day visit to New York as the leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The main thrust of the report — the UN’s first — is devoted to the severe repression employed by the occupation forces and other security forces against a majority Muslim population in the Kashmir valley and its environs.
“The continuing human tragedy in occupied Kashmir definitely struck a sympathetic cord among world leaders,” Qureshi said as he prepared to leave for Washington where he is set to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an effort to rebuild US-Pakistan relations.
The evidenced-based report on the brutalities of the Indian security forces in Kashmir had, in fact, endorsed what Pakistan has been telling international community about the situation there, he said.
The foreign minister said that he had 54 interactions with delegates to the UNGA, including 22 bilateral meetings, and 11 multilateral meeting packed in his six-days there.
“I presented Pakistan’s case to my counterparts as a representative of the new government,” Qureshi said, adding that one of his priorities was to reconnect Pakistan with nations that previous government virtually ignored.
He thanked Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi for her leadership in preparing an imaginative programme for his visit and praised Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, who is accompanying him, as a competent and conscientious diplomat.
The foreign minister said that he was glad to see that Pakistan was looked at with respect for its positive role at the UN, especially as a leading troop contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations. He said that Guterres described Pakistan as a “privileged partner of the UN”.
The foreign minister took the opportunity to draw attention to the jingoistic rhetoric from New Delhi, and asked the secretary-general to warn India against embarking on any misadventure against Pakistan. The UN chief is due to visit India next week.
Responding to a question, whether he would try to enlist US help when he meets Secretary Pompeo, Qureshi warned that Pakistan’s armed forces, backed by the entire nation, would give a befitting reply to India if such a situation arose.
Qureshi said that he found a lot of interest among the top diplomats at the UN he met about the policies and objectives of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. “They wanted to a lot more about him,” he said.
Regarding Aafia Siddiqui, the jailed Pakistani neuroscientist, the foreign minister said that he would raise her case with US authorities and seek her release. At the same time, he pointed out that US has its own laws but every effort would be made to find a way to end her incarceration.