Thursday Aug 15, 2019
NEW YORK: In a major diplomatic breakthrough for Pakistan on an international level, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has granted the country's request to discuss India’s decision to revoke the special status of occupied Kashmir on Friday.
Speaking to reporters UNSC President Joanna Wronecka said, “The UNSC will discuss the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16."
When asked about the timing of the meeting, Wronecka said, "Most probably on Friday as the Security Council would not operate on Thursday."
The council has taken up the issue of the critical situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir after almost 50 years.
On August 13, Pakistan had asked the UNSC for an urgent meeting to meet over India’s decision to revoke the special status of occupied Kashmir, the Himalayan region that has long been a flashpoint in ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the request in a letter to UNSC President Wronecka, seeking to participate in the meeting under the agenda item ‘India-Pakistan question’.
“Pakistan will not provoke a conflict. But India should not mistake our restraint for weakness,” Qureshi wrote in a letter to the UNSC.
“If India chooses to resort again to the use of force, Pakistan will be obliged to respond, in self-defence, with all its capabilities,” he said, adding that “in view of the dangerous implications” Pakistan requested the meeting.
China on Wednesday backed Pakistan’s request for UNSC to discuss India’s decision, asking for the body to meet behind closed doors on Thursday or Friday, diplomats said.
The August 5 decision by India blocks the right of occupied Kashmir to frame its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property there. Telephone lines, internet and television networks have been blocked and there are restrictions on movement and assembly.
The UNSC adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the disputed valley.
UN peacekeepers have been deployed since 1949 to observe a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in occupied Kashmir.