Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday (17) welcomed the UN Security Council’s decision to discuss tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir, a day after India slammed the rare meeting.
Tensions have soared since India earlier this month stripped the part of Kashmir that it controls of its autonomy, sparking calls from Pakistan for the international community to intervene on the decades-old issue.
“I welcome the UNSC meeting to discuss the serious situation in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, Khan tweeted after Friday’s talks in New York, the first to focus on the Himalayan region since 1971.
“Addressing the suffering of the Kashmiri people & ensuring resolution of the dispute is the responsibility of this world body”, he said.
Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan was establishing Kashmir desks in foreign capitals to “lobby for Kashmiris and their right to self-determination”.
The country’s armed forces would be ready to give a “telling response” to any act of “misadventure” by India in the wake of the UN meeting, he told a Saturday press conference alongside military spokesman Asif Ghafoor.
India has always insisted the Kashmir issue can only be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan and New Delhi’s ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, expressed annoyance over the council talks Friday.
US president Donald Trump, who spoke to Khan on Friday, has urged the nuclear-armed rivals to return to the negotiating table.
Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals.
Earlier this year, the rivals again came close to all-out conflict, after a militant attack in Indian-held Kashmir in February was claimed by a group based in Pakistan, igniting tit-for-tat air strikes.
Tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, have died in an uprising against Indian rule that has raged since 1989.