ISLAMABAD/ANKARA: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday “deeply” appreciated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for raising the issue of Indian occupied Kashmir during his address to the United Nations General Assembly a day earlier.
Addressing the 75th session of the General Assembly, Erdogan, who has time and again voiced concerns over the state-sponsored rights violations in the held territory, said the dispute remains “a burning issue” between the two arch-rivals, Anadolu Agency reported.
Referring to the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s government’s abolition of Article 370 which gave a semi-autonomous status to the Muslim-majority region and protected its demographic structure and the issuance of domiciles to non-residents afterward, the president said: “Steps taken following the abolition of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir further complicated the problem.”
Responding to the address, Prime Minister Imran, through a tweet, said: “Turkey’s unwavering support remains a source of strength for the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle for self-determination.”
Deeply appreciate President Erdogan once again raising his voice in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people during his address to UNGA. Turkey’s unwavering support remains a source of strength for the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle for self determination. pic.twitter.com/RIBJAIUpty
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 23, 2020
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and National Assembly Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif also expressed gratitude to President Erdogan “for raising the Kashmir issue”.
My gratitude to President Erdogan for raising the Kashmir issue in his address to the UN General Assembly. Kashmiris will remember him as their great friend who advocated their right to self-determination at every forum of the world. https://t.co/M8H7dm1euV
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) September 23, 2020
“Kashmiris will remember him as their great friend who advocated their right to self-determination at every forum of the world,” he said.
‘GROSS INTERFERENCE IN INTERNAL AFFAIRS’:
In her response, India said the address was “gross interference in India’s internal affairs”.
In a tweet, the country’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said: “We have seen remarks by President of Turkey on Indian UT of Jammu & Kashmir. They constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs and are completely unacceptable.”
We have seen remarks by President of Turkey on Indian UT of Jammu & Kashmir. They constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs and are completely unacceptable. Turkey should learn to respect sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply.
— PR UN Tirumurti (@ambtstirumurti) September 22, 2020
“Turkey should learn to respect [the] sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply,” the tweet added.
Since August 5 last year, Pakistan has raised the Kashmir issue three times inside the council with China’s support.
The Indian government, however, argues that the merger — although illegal — has ended the disputed nature of occupied Kashmir and, therefore, it should be removed from the council’s agenda.
Turkey has repeatedly backed Pakistan’s stance on the issue as Prime Minister Imran called attention to state-sponsored rights violations in occupied territory on international platforms.