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Message of the Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on the occasion of the opening ceremony

I wish to appreciate the Lahore Center for Peace Research and the Institute of Strategic Thinking for co-organizing this timely and important International Conference to discuss one of the oldest disputes on agenda of the United Nations Security Council – Jammu & Kashmir.

This dispute continues to cast an ominous shadow over the future of nearly one-fifth of humanity, and without doubt, poses one of the most serious challenges to regional and international peace and security today.

Several recent developments in South Asia have highlighted yet again, the inherent dangers of letting the dispute remain unresolved, and unattended.

The illegal and unilateral steps taken by India in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) on 5 August 2019 in contravention of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions that uphold the disputed status of the territory, have brought the entire region to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Grave human rights violations are being perpetrated to muzzle the voice of the Kashmiris, and change the demographic composition of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Despite international out-cry and condemnation, physical blockade of over 8 million Kashmiris as well as communication and media blackout have now entered into their fourth consecutive month. Kashmiri political leaders remain under detention. Reports of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, extra-judicial killings, denial of basic religious freedoms as well as disproportion use of force against civilians, including the use of notorious “pellet-guns,” remain endemic.

At the same time, another threat to peace and security in South Asia is germinating inside India.

Fanned by a vitriolic and extremist ideology, Islamophobia continues to grip India in its stranglehold, and is manifested in the growing incidents of discrimination, victimization, targeting and lynching of Muslims.

The minorities’ rights to life, liberty and fundamental freedoms are being held hostage to the nefarious designs of the Hindutva ideologues.Sadly, the entire Indian state apparatus is being used to shield and protect those who preach and practice this divisive ideology. A systematic campaign of incitement to hatred against Muslims as well as Pakistan is underway to swell the rank and file of hate mongers.

The recent decision of the Indian Supreme Court regarding the demolition of the historic Babri Masjid by adherents of the same ideology once again laid bare the reality of India’s secularism and the status of its vulnerable minorities.

Pakistan is desirous of peace and stability in South Asia through the resolution of all outstanding disputes, in particular the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, through dialogue and in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Sadly, all our overtures towards peace have not only been rebuffed, but responded to by further escalation by India. Under these circumstances, the role of the international community has never been more important.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the people and the Government of the Republic of Turkey for their principled and courageous stand on the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions as well as for making unequivocal calls for addressing the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in IOJ&K.

It is my sincere hope that this august gathering will lend its voice and weight to addressing and resolving the Jammu & Kashmir dispute as a matter of global priority.

I also hope that this Conference will join the numerous calls of conscience on the international community and the relevant UN institutions to act decisively to fulfil their legal and moral obligations towards the people of the occupied territories.

I wish the Conference every success in its deliberations.

20 November 2019

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