Pakistan calls for settlement of Kashmir and Palestine disputes

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday made a strong plea for resolving the two “oldest unresolved disputes on the UN agenda”—Kashmir and Palestine—to enable the struggling peoples of those lands exercise their right to self-determination, says a press release received here today from Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations.

“Self-determination is a basic human right which cannot be applied selectively,” Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the annual co-ordination meeting of OIC foreign ministers, who met on the sidelines of the 66th session of UN General Assembly.

“We are meeting here at a time when the Palestinian aspirations for a national homeland appear to be entering a decisive phase,” she said, referring the application submitted by Palestine President Mahmud Abbas for UN membership as a state.

At this critical juncture, we stand with our Palestinian brethren for their legitimate demand for an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, and its recognition by the United Nations,” the foreign minister said.

On Kashmir, Khar said the prospect of a lasting peace in South Asia was directly linked with a just and durable solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Pakistan had repeatedly underlined this fundamental reality in its engagement with India. Pakistan also supports associating the true representatives of the Kashmiri people with the Pakistan-India dialogue process.

The foreign minister said the Kashmiri people were hopeful that the OIC will raise its voice in support of the Kashmiri people’s demand for an international investigation in to the unmarked mass graves discovered in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, she said Pakistan was closely working with the Afghan Government and the international community for early return of peace and stability in the war-torn country. “We fully support President Hamid Karzai’s initiative for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.

The foreign minister strongly condemned the assassination of former president Burhanuddin Rabbani who was working for Afghan reconciliation.

Enumerating the “huge losses” inflicted by terrorists on Pakistan, she said, “We remain un-wavered in our resolve to eliminate terrorism from our country and beyond. We are determined to pursue terrorists to the very end.”

About the trend in the west to link Islam with terrorism, she said, “We, therefore, strongly reject the canard of ‘Islamic terrorism’.” “The recent incident in Norway is a clear manifestation that terrorists have no religion, no nationality and no values.”

Another issue of deep concern pertains to increasing incidents of Islamophobia and negative stereotyping of Islam, its scriptures and holy personalities. In certain countries, she said, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric has become a favourite pass time to expand electoral gains. “These hate mongers must not be allowed to pursue their evil agendas under the garb of freedom of expression.”

On UN Security Council reform, the foreign minister called on the OIC to play a pro-active role and seek adequate representation an expanded Security Council.

“The Muslim World is currently passing through a moment of unprecedented political awakening and reckoning,” Khar said. “One can discern signs of new Islamic renaissance in the 21st Century. We are confident that our brothers and sisters in the concerned countries would make the right choices to serve their best national interest.”

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Haji Ahmed Malik
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