A move by China to get the Kashmir issue on the agenda for consultations in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been thwarted by other members led by the US and France.
China had earlier managed to hold informal closed-door consultations on Kashmir in the UNSC on August 16, 11 days after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5.
This time, sources said, Beijing sent a note to the UNSC over the weekend to “echo the request” of Pakistan for a briefing on Kashmir. On December 12, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had written to the UNSC and expressed concern about a possible escalation of the situation.
But the US, which holds the presidency of the UNSC for December, did not yield to the latest request by China. France also joined in and said that the Kashmir issue has to be discussed bilaterally. “We have highlighted this several times recently, including in New York,” French diplomatic sources said.
Chinese has withdrawn its request, and no meeting on Kashmir will be held, sources said. The UNSC is now meeting Tuesday on the issue of Sudan and South Sudan, as per their original schedule.
China’s move was rebuffed at a time when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are meeting their American counterparts for the first 2+2 engagement. Singh reached New York Monday.
Delhi, meanwhile, rejected a resolution passed unanimously Monday by Pakistan’s parliament, the National Assembly, which referred to Kashmir and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and condemned the Indian government over what it described as “discriminatory legislation” and “human rights abuses”.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) responded by “categorically” rejecting the resolution. “It is a thinly veiled attempt by Pakistan to further its false narrative on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. It seeks to provide justification for Pakistan’s unrelenting support for cross-border terrorist activities in India. We are confident that such attempts will fail,” it said.
It said the resolution is a “poorly disguised” effort to divert attention from Pakistan’s “appalling treatment and persecution of its own religious minorities”. The demographics of these minorities, whether Hindu, Christian, Sikh or other faiths, in Pakistan speak for themselves, it said.
It also said the resolution “intentionally mischaracterizes the objectives of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. This Act gives citizenship to foreigners from selected countries who are persecuted religious minorities. It does not take away the citizenship of any Indian irrespective of her or his faith.”
“It is laughable that the National Assembly of Pakistan, that has itself passed discriminatory legislation against religious minorities, should point fingers at others. We call upon Pakistan to engage in serious self-introspection rather than to falsely accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of,” the MEA statement said.
“Pakistan would do well to remember that India is the world’s largest democracy, that all its Governments have been freely and fairly elected through universal adult franchise, and that all Indians irrespective of faith enjoy equal rights under the Constitution. We urge Pakistan to similarly aspire to these ideals,” it said.
In Geneva, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed at the Global Forum on Refugees that millions of Muslims could flee India due to the curfew in Kashmir and India’s new citizenship law.
“We are worried there not only could be a refugee crisis, we are worried it could lead to a conflict between two nuclear-armed countries… Our country will not be able to accommodate more refugees,” he said, urging the world to “step in now”.
In response to a query on Khan’s statement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again peddled familiar falsehoods at a multilateral platform to advance his narrow political agenda by making gratuitous and unwarranted remarks on matters entirely internal to India. It should now be clear to the entire world that this is an established pattern of his habitual and compulsive abuse of global forums.”
Kumar said: “It has been the unfortunate experience of most of Pakistan’s neighbours that actions by that country have had adverse consequences next door. Over the past 72 years, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has systematically persecuted all of its minorities, forcing most of them to flee to India. Moreover, Prime Minister Khan wishes the world forgets what his Army did in 1971 to the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan. Pakistan must act to protect and promote the rights of its own minorities and co-religionists.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines