Pakistan to engage 35 world leaders at UNGA on IHK situation

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will engage at least 35 world leaders, including US, China, Russian and French presidents and British prime minister, at the highest echelon this month during the United Nations 74th General Assembly (UNGA) summit session in New York on the brinks of the world leaders’ annual gathering.

They will be briefed about the grave situation in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) that has been annexed by India through violation of UNSC’s various resolutions since it is acknowledged disputed area. Prime Minister Imran Khan will lead Pakistan’s delegation while Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will accompany him and both the leaders will have interaction with the world leaders on the margins of the world body summit.

The leaders of ten non-permanent members of the UNSC, heads of state/government of important countries of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and important countries of the region will essentially be among the leaders to be interacted by Pakistan’s head of delegation.

Well-placed diplomatic sources told The News here Sunday that Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood has asked Pakistan’s envoys posted in the capitals concerned to approach the authorities of their host countries to tie up the schedule for the summit meetings at the brinks of the UNGA.

Pakistan’s permanent envoy for the UN Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi is making efforts to make the occasion as fruitful as possible for highlighting the Kashmir issue on the highest international forum. She has made a number of meetings with the relevant senior officials of the world body to make the UN headquarters ambiance maximum favourable for Pakistan’s voice.

The sources pointed out that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will be under one roof at least for three days during the UNGA, but it is unlikely that they will have a chance meeting or shake-hands during the days.

Likewise Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Subramnium Jaishankar will be attending at least seven meetings together, including one of foreign ministers of Saarc countries, but their bilateral meeting is out of probability.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mehmood and his Indian counterpart Vijay Keshav Gokhale will also be together in meetings of the senior officials in different groups, but they too have no plan for a meeting. They will stay at the UN headquarters about 10 days, the sources said.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi will attend another important meeting of the OIC’s Contact Group on Kashmir to be headed by Turkey. It will be second meeting of the group in about six weeks since it had an emergency meeting last month in Jeddah in the wake of Indian annexation of IHK. Qureshi will report the group about the latest situation of the region and Kashmir, the sources said.

Sources indicated that Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia on his return journey from New York later this month. He will have meetings with Saudi strongman Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. It will be a significant diplomatic development.

The prime minister could also avail on the occasion to have an audience with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz during his important visit to the Kingdom.

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