Pakistan will always be voice of Kashmiris at UN: outgoing envoy

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 31 (APP): Pakistan told the International community Wednesday that it would stand by the people of Jammu and Kashmir until they exercise their right to self-determination through a UN-supervised plebiscite to achieve freedom from the Indian occupation.

“The people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir find courage in their conviction that, the dark night of occupation, however long, will give way to the dawn of freedom and the triumph of justice,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in a speech to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural issues.

“Until then, they will find Pakistan standing resolutely with them,” the Pakistani envoy said while participating in a debate on right to self-determination.

“We would like to reaffirm that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute will remain on the UN agenda and Pakistan will continue to be the voice of the Kashmiris at the UN until the people of occupied Kashmir are allowed to exercise their will,” she declared in her last speech at the UN.

The Pakistani envoy said that Kashmiris have suffered under seven decades of occupation waiting for their inalienable right to self-determination as promised by 11 Security Council resolutions.

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India’s occupation of Kashmir in 1947 was based on an “utterly false pretext,” and with its illegal annexation of the disputed state on August 5, the “tragedy of Kashmir has come full circle,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

She said the right to self-determination is enshrined in the United Nations Charter’s opening words and is the “fountainhead” of all other rights. Yet, there are those who are denied this fundamental right.

The price of this failure is being paid in blood by generations living under occupation, the Pakistan envoy said, adding that in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, this bloodletting has persisted for more than 70 years.

Following stripping of Kashmir’s special status nearly three months ago, Ambassador Lodhi said an “iron curtain” has descended on the occupied territory, where a military lockdown has now entered its eighty-fifth day with no sign of abating.

She added that the occupied territory has been transformed into a giant armed cage with additional troops inducted into what was already the world’s most militarized zone.

Harrowing stories abound of widespread torture and arbitrary arrests, the Pakistani envoy said. International media and human rights organizations are expressing grave concerns over the grim humanitarian situation there.

Like all oppressors, India continues to delude itself that it can extinguish the light of freedom from the hearts and minds of the brave people of Jammu and Kashmir, she said.

“It (India) ignores the lesson of history that a people’s yearning for freedom can never be crushed by brute force,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

“Might can never be right,” she emphasized.

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