Rejecting Pakistan’s repeated pleas to the UN to resolve the Kashmir dispute, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan and India should address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through “dialogue”. Ban’s remarks came as Sharif handed over to him a dossier containing evidence of alleged human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir.
“The Secretary-General stressed the need for Pakistan and India to address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through dialogue, saying it is in the interest of both countries and the region as a whole,” according to a readout of Ban’s meeting with Sharif provided by his spokesperson. Ban met with Sharif on Wednesday on the margins of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly.
According to a statement by the Pakistan Mission to the UN, Sharif handed over to Ban the dossier containing information and evidence of alleged atrocities and human rights violations against Kashmiris. He also showed Ban “pictures” of “innocent and defenceless” people in Kashmir “victimised through brutal use of force and atrocities.”
“The Prime Minister also reiterated the imperative of an independent inquiry into the extra judicial killings and a UN fact finding mission to investigate the situation in occupied Kashmir. He emphasised that India must be urged to abide by UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir,” the statement said. Sharif has been mounting massive efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, shooting off letters to the UN and Ban as well and raising the issue in all of his bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA.
However, his repeated calls to the UN to help resolve the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan appear to be gaining no traction as Ban made no reference to Kashmir and the situation in the Valley in his final speech to the UNGA as UN Chief. Ban mentioned a plethora of global issues on the UN agenda, including the situation in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, the tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East but not Kashmir.
He even touched upon the Syrian crisis, the Palestinian issue, the refugee and migrant movements, the South Sudan tensions, violent extremism and its impact on regions from Yemen, Libya Iraq, Afghanistan to the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. Sharif, in his address to the UN General Assembly, said Pakistan welcomed the offer of good offices by the Secretary-General to help resolve the Kashmir dispute.
Ban’s office has repeatedly said that the UN Chief’s good offices are available on helping resolve the Kashmir dispute only if both India and Pakistan request for it, a clear message that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one between the two nations and should be solved by them only.