Unresolved Kashmir dispute poses great threat to peace, stability in region: Qureshi speaks at UNGA

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while representing Pakistan at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said Pakistan wanted to engage with "all countries and neighbours on the basis of peace and equality”.

The foreign minister addressed the audience in the national language, Urdu.

"I address you today as the representative of a country moving towards prosperity and development," Qureshi said at the start of his speech.

The foreign minister said, "Today the world is at crossroads as protectionism, populism and isolationism are gaining currency. New forms and manifestations of imperialism are appearing, and dark clouds of trade wars are looming large."

"In these uncertain times, the global community seems desperate for leadership, vision and an order," said Qureshi, adding that Pakistan will continue to "collaborate on the platforms of United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to reverse the tide of bigotry".

Being specific about Indian aggression in region

Briefing the audience about the long outstanding issues with India, Qureshi cleared that Pakistan wanted to "resolve outstanding issues with India through dialogue but the Indian government has wasted an opportunity for the third time — each time with flimsy excuses".

Qureshi said that the unresolved Kashmir dispute poses a great threat to peace and stability in the region. "Peace can never be established in South Asia unless the issue of Kashmir is resolved in accordance with the UN resolutions," Qureshi asserted.

He said that India must "stop human rights violations in the occupied Kashmir and also stop ceasefire violations across the line of control".

The foreign minister warned that India will face a "severe reaction if it attempted any misadventure against Pakistan".

"India has been sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan and Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav was involved in planning and sponsoring terrorist activities in Pakistan on behalf of the Indian government," Qureshi said, while briefing the world about direct Indian involvement in sponsoring terrorist activities inside Pakistan.

He continued to say Jadhav has provided Pakistani authorities with "the most incriminating evidence" and that he was "but one Indian state-sponsored terrorist (among many)".

"It is India that in plain sight operates state terrorism in Jammu Kashmir," he stressed adding that it is a matter of great concern that "humanity is being crushed and human rights are being violated all across India".

Peace in the South Asian region directly relies on a justified settlement of Kashmir dispute in the light of UNSC resolutions and the will of the people of Kashmir, the minister maintained.

The foreign minister clarified that Pakistan wanted to engage with "all countries and neighbours on the basis of peace and equality”.

"Pakistan stands ready to strengthen its partnership with UN's family of institutions," he asserted.

“The horrors of terrorism can only be rectified by immediate rehabilitation progress,” he said, adding that the UN Sustainable Development Goals must be ensured on immediate bases.

Qureshi urges world to respect religious sentiments of Muslims

"Madam president, consider the issue of striking the right balance between the freedom of expression and sentiments of the people. Where there ought to be empathy, understanding and compassion, we see caricatured, ill-informed, jaundiced judgements.

"Recently, Muslims across the world were pained at a planned competition of cartoons of our Holy Prophet (PBUH). This deeply hurt Muslim sentiments and sensibilities," he said

On its part, Pakistan will continue to collaborate with friends and partners on the UN and OIC platforms to reverse the growing tide of bigotry, to build cross-cultural understandings and to build dialogue amongst civilisations, the minister vowed.

"Pakistan remains one of the oldest, largest and most active contributors to the UN peacekeeping operations the world over. The Pakistani blue helmets have never hesitated to give up lives in the cause of global peace. We are proud of their sacrifices," Qureshi apprised the world leaders.

At the start of his address, the foreign minister extended condolences over the passing of former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and also expressed sympathy with the government and the people of Indonesia for the damage caused by recent earthquakes and tsunami.

Qureshi is expected to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

Giving an interview to Al-Jazeera television earlier this week, Qureshi said the new government had inherited strained relations with two key countries — India and the United States — and was working to improve ties with both.

Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s July 26 peace offer to India, Qureshi said that seeking a constructive dialogue with India was a key component of the new government’s policies.

“What we did…we thought made sense. Two neighbours with outstanding issues, atomic powers. How do you fix things? War is no option. There is no military solution: the only solution is a dialogue,” he had emphasised.

Watch the complete address in English here.



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