December 2, 2023

Pakistan mulls ‘out of the box’ solution for Kashmir


Islamabad: (Mudassar Chaudhary) Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Islamabad was ready to defend the motherland at all costs besides mulling ‘other options’ to deal with the situation in occupied Kashmir following the loss of its autonomy in an illegal move by the Indian government.

India has unleashed a reign of terror in the occupied region, with a stringent clampdown and 24-hour curfew in the held region. Seven people have been killed so far whereas scores have been injured in protests.

Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, the foreign minister said: “We are considering ‘other options’ as well… we hope there’s no bloodshed, but we see things moving towards the further escalation in tension,” he added.

The minister went on to say that the government does not want to consider ‘military options’. “However, we reserve the right to defend our motherland in event of any misadventure,” he added.

He also made an appeal to the nation to wave Kashmir’s flag along with Pakistan’s flag to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir on August 14.

“The whole nation should chant slogans of Kashmir banega Pakistan,” he added.

He said China has decided to fully support Pakistan on Kashmir issue amid New Delhi’s attempts to change the demography of the disputed area and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris.

On Friday, China had vowed to support Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir at the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) as well as “safeguarding of its legitimate rights and interests”.

“I shared with China that we intend on taking this matter to the UNSC. I want to tell the nation that they [Chinese leadership] have assured us of their complete support. Not only that, they have also issued instructions to their New York representative to remain in contact with our representative and to keep their consultations ongoing.”

Qureshi said that foreign ministries of both the countries have named a focal person each at the director general level who will be responsible for coordinating “a joint strategy”.

China has taken a position whereby it views Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed region, said the foreign minister, adding,”They are of the view that the solution to the dispute lies within the United Nations resolution.”

A report by Reuters quoted Qureshi as saying that he planned to approach Indonesia and Poland — both non-permanent members of the 15-strong Security Council — as well, for their support.

The foreign minister went on to describe how Kashmiris living abroad had been completely cut off from their loved ones in the wake of an unprecedented lockdown in the region by the occupying forces.

He said some reports of curfew violations had surfaced from Soora in Srinagar yesterday and in Ladakh today, but that details were sketchy due to a clampdown on communications. “We cannot say for sure what the outcome of quashing such violations was. Were there deaths? Injuries? The fear is on the rise.”

He said the curfew has entered its sixth day and there are alarming reports of food shortages and moreover, a shortage of medicines.

“All the while, India is giving the world the impression that there is nothing to worry about and that this is an internal matter,” he said.

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