Pakistan calls on UN to ‘live up’ to its Kashmir promise

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Thursday renewed Islamabad’s support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to self-determination, calling on the UN to “live up to its promise” by holding a plebiscite in the disputed region.

Alvi said the right to self-determination is a “cardinal principle of international law, upheld in numerous core United Nations Treaties.”

Islamabad’s renewed support for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination comes on the eve of Jan. 5, when the UN said in 1949 that the future of Jammu and Kashmir would be decided through a free and fair plebiscite, but the exercise was never carried out.

The UN resolutions on Kashmir had come in the aftermath of a full-fledged war between the newly created Pakistan and India.

“For decades, it has been reaffirmed by the UN General Assembly in its annual resolution on self-determination. However, the last 76 years of India’s occupation of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are a sad story of repression of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Alvi said in a statement.

Accusing New Delhi of “violating” UNSC resolutions and international humanitarian laws, he said: “India is trying to subjugate the Kashmiris people through oppressive tactics.”

New Delhi has yet to respond to Alvi’s accusations.

“The United Nations must honour the commitments that it made 75 years ago and support the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self-determination,” the Pakistani president stressed.

Kashmiris and Pakistanis every year observe this day on Jan. 5, holding rallies, and seminars demanding that the UN implement its resolutions and settle the Kashmir dispute.

Meanwhile, an international advocacy group based in Islamabad, the Legal Forum for Kashmir, documented conflict events in Indian-administered Kashmir in 2023 and claimed that 248 people were killed last year, including Indian soldiers, civilians, and militants.

It added that 260 “major cordon and search operations were also carried out by Indian forces in the region while 138 residential houses were destroyed.”

– Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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