‘There is greater awareness about the plight of minorities in India at the United Nations today.’

Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the United Nations,
speaks to SouthAsia in this exclusive interview.

Interview | March 2020

What are the key challenges that the Pakistan UN mission is addressing at present in the context of Pakistan?
The world is undergoing a complex transformation. Great power rivalries have revived, polarizing international relations. The economic slowdown, job losses and mass migration have led to trade and technology “wars” and the rise of ultra-nationalist passions and populist political postures.

Today the very essence of the UN Charter, the basic rules and principles governing the use of force and respect for human rights, are being flagrantly violated. The rising unilateralism is eroding multilateralism and international cooperation to effectively address threats to peace and security - such as the unresolved conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia - as well as other global challenges such as climate change, poverty, inequality and mass migration.

In this backdrop, the key challenge for Pakistan at the UN is to mobilize opposition to India’s oppression in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and revive the legitimacy of the Kashmir struggle for self-determination.

For over seventy years, India has violated the UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and denied the right of self-determination of its people. In the wake of unilateral and illegal actions taken by India on August 5, Pakistan has intensified diplomatic efforts to revive support for the Kashmiri freedom struggle and seek a solution for the Kashmir dispute - one of the oldest and unresolved items on the agenda of the Security Council. Despite immense challenges, we have made encouraging progress on this issue.

What progress has Pakistan made in tackling the Kashmir issue at the UN? What efforts has the Pakistan mission made at the UN to build world opinion in favour of Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and treatment of Muslims in India?
Following India’s illegal measures of 5 August 2019, and the imposition of a complete lockdown and curfew in occupied Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan has taken a series of steps to highlight the plight of the people of Jammu & Kashmir and promote their cause at the United Nations. Our efforts have focused on three areas:

One, India’s grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir;

Two, the legitimacy of the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people to realize their inalienable and recognized right to self-determination; and

Three, India’s threat of aggression against Pakistan and its continuing violations of the ceasefire line along the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir.

A major thrust of our efforts has been to expose the human rights abuses carried out by Indian occupying forces. We have apprised the world that with deployment of more than 900,000 security forces, India has imposed a reign of terror in Kashmir, with severe restrictions on all fundamental freedoms and human rights, and total blackout of all forms of communications.

Due to our efforts, the UN Secretary General has affirmed that the UN’s position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is based on the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued several statements expressing concern over the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir. Several UN Special Rapporteurs have raised concern about arbitrary killings and detentions and other violations in occupied Kashmir.

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