Resolve Kashmir for South Asia peace, Qureshi tells Pompeo | Pakistan Today

Resolve Kashmir for South Asia peace, Qureshi tells Pompeo

–FM urges US to remain involved in Afghanistan post withdrawal

WASHINGTON: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that peace in South Asia could not be achieved until the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with United Nations resolutions and through a plebiscite of eight million Kashmiris.

Qureshi informed Pompeo about the ongoing human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, saying people in the occupied region have been “kept confined” through a curfew imposed by New Delhi for the past five months, a Foreign Office statement said.

Qureshi noted that a communications blackout in the valley remains in place in order “to conceal the facts from the world’s view”.

“The dream of a ‘peaceful South Asia’ of the US and Pakistan cannot be realised until the Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with United Nations resolutions and through a plebiscite of eight million Kashmiris,” the FO quoted Qureshi as saying.

Qureshi’s remarks come a day after the situation in occupied Kashmir was reviewed at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Matters concerning the Pakistan-US relationship, bilateral cooperation and the regional situation were also discussed in the meeting.

During the talks, Qureshi briefed Pompeo about discussions held during his recent visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

He said that Pakistan desires peace and stability and is determined to play its role to defuse prevailing tensions in the region, according to the FO statement.

The foreign minister said it was due to Pakistan and the US’s joint efforts that the prospect of peace through a political settlement in Afghanistan is now on the horizon after four decades of conflict.

“Pakistan is fulfilling this joint responsibility for the Afghan peace process with sincerity of intent,” he said.

According to the FO, Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s “sincere efforts” for the Afghan reconciliation and peace process and a peaceful neighbourhood.

‘US SHOULD REMAIN INVOLVED IN AFGHANISTAN’:

Earlier, while speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Qureshi said the US must remain engaged in Afghanistan’s reconstruction even if it succeeds in withdrawing troops and ending the longest war of its history.

Qureshi said: “Peace in Afghanistan is ultimately a shared responsibility and Pakistan […] alone cannot do all that is needed”.

The foreign minister warned the US not to neglect Afghanistan, as was seen after 1989 when Soviet troops pulled out under pressure from guerrillas fighters backed by Washington and Islamabad.

“Do not repeat the ’80s,” he said, adding: “Even if there is a successful agreement, challenges will remain there, so the United States and its friends and coalition partners will have to have a more responsible withdrawal.

“They should remain engaged — not to fight, but to rebuild.”

Qureshi said he has seen a willingness from the Taliban to reduce the violence. “They are pragmatic and not foolish. They are also fatigued,” he said.

Meanwhile, discussing the situation in occupied Kashmir, Qureshi said India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had “misled” the international community about the Pulwama incident and “construed Pakistan’s desire for peace as its weakness”, adding that Pakistan only wants “peace for development”.

QURESHI MEETS US CONGRESSMEN:

Qureshi also held meetings with a host of US lawmakers from the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. The lawmakers included Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Senator Mitt Romney, Senator Chris Murphy and Senator Jim Risch.

Qureshi said he discussed Pakistan’s contribution to the Afghan peace process, recent tensions in the Middle East and India’s illegal lockdown in occupied Kashmir.



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