Hitting back at Pakistan for again raising the Kashmir issue at the UN, India termed the country as a “fly–by-night operator” saying Islamabad “flagrantly” misuses the forum of the world body for its “territorial aggrandisement”. Exercising the Right of Reply, Minister in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, Srinivas Prasad, strongly rejected remarks made by Pakistan’s envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, in which she had said that the non-implementation of UN Security Council resolutions for a plebiscite in Kashmir is the “most persistent” failure of the UN.
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“We are constrained to take the floor to exercise our Right of Reply because we have just heard one country – Pakistan – make reference to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in a rather self-serving and disingenuous attempt to bring an extraneous issue to this committee,” Prasad said during the General Debate of the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee here yesterday.
Rejecting Lodhi’s comments entirely, Prasad said “Pakistan, acting like a fly–by-night operator, has attempted to flagrantly misuse the forum provided by the Committee for its territorial aggrandisement”. He asserted that Kashmir is not on the agenda of the committee, which is focussed on decolonisation and “non-self governing territories”.
Lodhi raking up the Kashmir issue in the committee that focuses on decolonisation reflects yet another failed attempt to bring the issue on the agenda of this Committee, he said. “The issue is rightly not on the agenda of the Committee which looks after the non-self governing territories,” Prasad said adding Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. He said “Pakistan will be well advised not to disrespect the intelligence of the Committee and abide by its agenda”.
Raising the Kashmir issue again at the UN, Lodhi had said the decolonisation agenda of the UN will remain “incomplete” without resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which is among the oldest items on the UN’s agenda. She claimed for over six decades, the UN Security Council resolutions promising a plebiscite under UN auspices to allow the Kashmiri people to determine their destiny, have not been implemented. “This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations,” she said adding that generation after generation of Kashmiris has only seen “broken promises and brutal oppression”.
Claiming that Jammu and Kashmir “never was and can never be” an integral part of India, she said it is a disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with resolutions of the UN Security Council. Lodhi claimed the Kashmiris have risen again in unison against occupation through the “ongoing indigenous uprising”.
She alleged that Indian forces have injured thousands of Kashmiris, calling it “the worst form of state terrorism and a war crime, which India has perpetrated by its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir for decades”. Lodhi said the UN has a moral responsibility to people suffering under colonial domination and foreign occupation. “There is an urgent need to bring the work on this unfinished agenda to closure and eliminate the last remaining vestiges of colonialism. We hope that we will be able to achieve this shared goal sooner rather than later,” she said.