Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN) Maleeha Lodhi on Tuesday briefed top UN leaders about the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India following the attacks in Pulwama last week.
“I told them that the Pulwama incident reinforces the need to address the root cause of violence in occupied Kashmir and to find a peaceful solution to the longstanding dispute in accordance with several UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions," Lodhi told APP after separate meetings with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President of the UNSC Anatolio Ndong Mba.
"I have reaffirmed Pakistan’s readiness to a constructive and meaningful dialogue with India overall issues, including the core issue of Kashmir, as stated by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” she said. “I explained India’s no-talk posture is not only irresponsible, but it puts at stake, the peace and security of all of South Asia."
The already sour relations between India and Pakistan have worsened over the past week as New Delhi piled blame on Islamabad for the Pulwama attack.
Rejecting India’s allegations, the ambassador said, “I regretted that the knee-jerk Indian reaction was an all too familiar attempt to blame Pakistan without any credible investigation to determine facts.”
She further stressed that the international community should not lose sight of the fact that the tragedy of Kashmir is the consequence of the systematic denial of their fundamental rights, brutal use of force, and widespread alienation and marginalisation of the people of the people of the valley.
“Indian brutality and oppression have been met with an intensification of the indigenous Kashmiri struggle against Indian occupation,” she told the UN chief and the president of the 15-member council.
“For the Kashmiri people, every victim is not just another statistic — it is a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, a friend or a ward; with every fallen martyr, a part of them is also slain," she added.
Last year over 500 Kashmiris were martyred, making it one of the deadliest years for the Kashmiri struggle against the Indian occupation.
Expressing deep concern over "incendiary and jingoistic" statements from prominent Indian leaders threatening Pakistan, the ambassador said, as a responsible state, Pakistan will continue to exercise calm and restraint.
“As stated by PM Imran, any Indian misadventure will invite retaliation from Pakistan, the envoy said.
Pointing towards the risk that an escalation on Pakistan’s eastern front could undermine efforts underway for a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict, Lodhi said, “I informed both the secretary-general and the UNSC president that the premier has offered an investigation into the Pulwama incident, should India provide any actionable intelligence.”
“I request the secretary-general to play his part in diffusing a potentially dangerous and help de-escalate tensions that could spiral out of control,” she said. Pakistan, she said, was committed and remain ready for constructive and meaningful dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues including the core issue of Kashmir.
On his part, the Pakistani envoy said that the secretary-general said he was closely following the developments, saying these were "troubled times" for the region.
Guterres said he had read Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s letter and was aware of PM Imran’s address to the nation.