Pakistan highlights lack of self-determination rights for Kashmir and Palestine at UN

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has urged the Security Council and the General Assembly to “actively” work to resolve festering disputes through the modalities available under the United Nations charter, while pointing out that the people of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir have yet to exercise their basic right to self-determination.

“There are too many instances of injustice, inequality and oppression among and within States,” Ambassador Munir Akram said in the 193-member assembly’s debate on the secretary-general’s priorities for 2023.

“We have not achieved the universal realisation of the core and fundamental right of self-determination for all peoples — certainly not for the peoples of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir,” the envoy said.

In this regard, he called for efforts to ensure “consistent and universal” respect for the core principles of the charter, Security Council resolutions and international law, emphasizing that those must be equitably considered in the 15-member council and — when that is not possible, in the General Assembly — to promote implementation.

Noting that António Guterres’ report covers a range of new and emerging challenges facing the international community, including the climate crisis, escalating tensions between major powers, spiralling inflation, high debt levels and slowing economic growth, Ambassador Akram said the volatile security environment was further exacerbated by growing poverty, injustice, inequality, hate, intolerance, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

Climate impacts, environmental degradation and a water emergency had added another layer to the challenging security matrix, he added.

Ambassador Akram also called for enlarging the role of judicial mechanisms and extending the International Court of Justice’s mandate to all issues on the agenda of the Security Council.

In addition, he said there was a need to utilise “much more vigorously” the considerable authority of the secretary general under the charter.  “No party to a dispute should be able to reject his offers of mediation or good offices.”

He also voiced concern over proliferating restrictions on trade that have devastating consequences for developing countries.

Meanwhile, global efforts to eliminate terrorism have fallen short, and more attention is needed to the rising tide of right-wing extremism, neofascism, hate speech and intolerance, he said.

Efforts are also needed to address state-sponsored terrorism, to ensure human rights protections while fighting terrorism, and to avoid language that conflates terrorism with any particular religion.

Ambassador Akram’s remarks on Jammu and Kashmir drew a response from an Indian representative that led to a verbal exchange with a Pakistani delegate.

Indian representative Rajesh Parihar termed Akram’s remarks “frivolous”, claiming that the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were an integral and inalienable part of India.

Responding to India, Hafizah Humera Javaid, a member of Pakistan’s UN mission, said the repetition by New Delhi of a wrong position does not make it acceptable.

The right of the people of Kashmir to self-determination has been recognised, and promised to them by the Security Council through its resolutions, she asserted, before highlighting India’s efforts to prevent the exercise of this right through force and fraud.

India, Javaid said, had imprisoned the entire Kashmiri leadership, illegally detained its youth, executed young men, violently put down protests and burned down entire neighbourhoods and villages.

Although India has also deployed close to 900,000 security forces to Jammu and Kashmir, making it the most militarized zone in the world, such measures only strengthen the resolve and resilience of the Kashmiri people, she said.

Javaid then pledged that Pakistan will continue to expose Indian brutality and inform the international community of the Kashmiris’ plight.


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