UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan got major diplomatic breakthrough at international level against India as the UN Security Council (UNSC) has granted the country’s request to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday.
The UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on 16 August, UNSC President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday.
“Most probably on Friday”, Wronecka said when asked about the timing of the meeting. The Security Council would not operate on Thursday, she added.
India has got off the ground full-throttled efforts to get the meeting postponed or cancelled as the UNSC decision is being considered as a snub to the country, the sources said. The council has taken up the issue of critical situation, involving also humanitarian crisis, in Indian-occupied Kashmir after almost 50 years.
China and Russia back Pakistan request for meeting
China supported Pakistan’s request for the UNSC meeting to discuss the revocation of article-370 that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and asked for the body to meet behind closed doors on Thursday or Friday, diplomats said.
Meantime, a Russian representative at the council said his country will not object to the meeting. “Moscow doesn’t object to holding such a meeting, but the matter should be discussed behind closed doors,” said Russia’s acting UN envoy, Dmitry Polyansky, while talking to reporters on Wednesday. He said the UNSC members need to coordinate their positions first, because the issue hasn’t been on its agenda for quite a while.
The Pakistan request for an urgent meeting was contained in a letter from Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi presented to Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, who is the president of the 15-member council for the month of August.
Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi had earlier this month met President of UN Security Council for the month of August Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka over Kashmir. The Polish ambassador however declined to comment on the issue.
“No comments,” she had said at the Security Council stakeout at the UN headquarters last week, walking away as she was asked about Qureshi’s letter to the Security Council.
UN Secretary General stresses on the Simla Agreement of 1972
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also laid emphasis on the Simla Agreement of 1972 — a bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan that rejects third-party mediation in Kashmir.
Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing last week that the Secretary General had been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir “with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint.”
The secretary general also “recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”
Revocation of Article-370 by India
On August 5, New Delhi announced that it was revoking Article 370 of the country’s constitution that granted a special status and a degree of autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and also breaking the state up into two union territories largely controlled by the central government. Pakistan strongly condemned the move.
Before the constitutional amendments, Jammu and Kashmir – the only Indian state where Muslims constitute a majority – had special autonomy. All bills in this state passed by the central government (except for those related to defense and foreign relations) had to be backed by a local assembly. Citizens of other Indian regions had no right to buy land in Kashmir. The state had its official flag.