Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the United States and the international community to help settle the decades-old Indo-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir where people have risen up against the Indian occupation.
“The occupation cannot continue,” he told a distinguished audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, on Tuesday, a day on which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also spoke out against the ongoing violence in the disputed state where Indian security forces have killed over 100 Kashmiri demonstrators.
“The international community must recognize that the people of Kashmir, in an entirely indigenous upsurge, are demanding their right to self-determination,” Qureshi said, while rejecting allegations that Pakistan behind the revolt against New Delhi’s rule across the valley.
Stressing that the uprising in the occupied Kashmir was indigenous, he said Pakistan has neither the means nor the capacity to mobilize the young and old to stage protest demonstrations and shut down towns and cities.
In a well-reasoned speech, Qureshi covered a number of topics, but made the most detailed statement so far on the Kashmir dispute. He urged India to take a “fresh look” at the evolving situation in the territory and sit down with Pakistan in an effort to resolve the festering dispute.
“Dialogue is the only way forward. We can do it.” “We are convinced that sustainable peace can only offer the best guarantee for ensuring a bright and prosperous future for the over one billion people inhabiting the region,” the foreign minister said.
“Resuming the dialogue process with India, therefore, remains a major objective for us,” while noting that his discussions with Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M Krishna in July were “useful”.
“We look forward to constructive and result oriented interaction with India on all issues, especially the issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
The foreign minister said that the United Nations had recognized the rights of Kashmiri people long ago.
“Now is the time for the international community to do something about it.
“We call upon the United States particularly, which is pressing so responsibly for peace in the Middle East, to also invest its political capital in trying to help seek an accommodation for Kashmir,” he added.
The foreign minister said, “It has always baffled me that the international community has long recognized that the Palestinian question is the core issue to peace in the Middle East, but does not seem to understand that, similarly, until the status of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved, real peace in South Asia will remain elusive.
” The rights of the Kashmiri people cannot continue to be denied. “Today, the Kashmiri youth, children and women have once again highlighted the occupation and suppressive policies of occupation in Indian held Kashmir.
“Surely the world can recognize that this resistance is internal and visceral. It may be easy for some to dismiss the uprisings as outside agitation, but no one any longer can seriously believe this.”
Earlier, Jami Miscik of the CFR introduced the foreign minister to the adueince, while expressing sympathy and support for the victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan.