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ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has reiterated the world body’s position on the Kashmir dispute that it should be resolved on the basis of the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan.

Antonio Guterres reaffirmed the stance in reply to a question at his first press conference as he began his second term as the UN chief in New York. He hoped that human rights would be respected in the disputed territory. “Well, the position of the UN and the resolutions that were taken are the same, remain the same,” he said in reply to a question from a Pakistani journalist, who reminded him of the statement he made on August 8, 2019.

The Secretary General pointed out that the United Nations has a peacekeeping operation in Kashmir, the UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan, which monitors the Line of Control in the disputed region. He said he had offered his good offices to resolve the dispute several times, and we hope that this is something that can be solved peacefully.

Pakistan has always welcomed the UN Secretary General’s offer of mediation, but India always rejected it. Meanwhile, Pakistan has urged the United Nations to step up its efforts and urgently resolve the Kashmir dispute in order to halt Indian atrocities in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and prevent a threat to regional and global peace and security.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, while commenting on the report of the UN chief on the work of the Organization told the UN General Assembly that peace and security must remain at the core of the functions of the United Nations. “We urge the Security Council and the Secretary General to exercise their considerable authority to promote an early and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and to end the Indian reign of terror against the Kashmiri people,” the Pakistani envoy said in his speech.

Ambassador Munir Akram said, the United Nations and the Secretary General can do “much more” to address peace and security threats by fully using the authority provided by the United Nations Charter, such as in Article 99, and by taking action in the General Assembly if the Security Council is unable to do so.

The Pakistani envoy said, the primary threat in South Asia is posed by the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir and India’s attempt to annex and transform the Muslim majority IIOJK into a Hindu majority territory, a grave violation of Council resolutions that promised the Kashmiris their right to self-determination through a United Nations supervised plebiscite.

Ambassador Munir Akram condemned the extensive illegal actions taken by India in IIOJK and urged the Council and the Secretary General to promote an early, peaceful end to the dispute.

He deplored that so far, there has been no accountability for India’s crimes in IIOJK. Draconian Indian laws provide complete impunity to the 900,000 troops India has deployed in the occupied territory, he pointed out. “Pakistan condemned the increasing harassment, illegal arrests and registration of fake criminal cases against journalists and civil society activists such as Khurram Pervez, in IIOJK. The recent attack and ban on the Kashmir Press Club is another manifestation of India’s entrenched use of brute force and coercion to silence all those who raise their voice against its criminal and genocidal acts in the occupied territory,” Ambassador Munir Akram said.

He cited the rise of racial and religious hate and violence, with Islamophobia among its gravest manifestations, notably as characterized by lynching and calls for genocide of Muslims in India. “The worst manifestation of Islamophobia is the officially-inspired campaign of the ‘Hindutva’ adherents in India against Muslims,” he said.

The Pakistani envoy also drew attention to the statement made recently by the Head of “Genocide Watch”, Professor Gregory Stanton, in which he stated: “We are warning that genocide could very well happen in India.” “We call on the Secretary General and the United Nations to take decisive steps to combat Islamophobia and to prevent the danger of genocide against the Muslims of India,” he said.

Ambassador Munir Akram also said that the United Nations role in peacekeeping is a major success and Pakistan will remain a steadfast partner in ensuring the effectiveness of such operations, notably the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), stationed in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

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