NEW YORK: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi assailed India for the use of pellet guns against peaceful protestors in Occupied Kashmir, describing this as the first “mass blinding in human history”, says a press release received here today from New York.
Speaking in the General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee, the Pakistani envoy called the use of pellet guns against unarmed people a ‘war crime’ that has left a generation of young Kashmiris blinded and maimed for life. “This has been aptly described as the first mass blinding in human history”, she said.
Emphasising the importance of resolving the Kashmir issue, Ambassador Lodhi said that the decolonization agenda of the United Nations will remain incomplete without resolution of this long festering dispute which is among the oldest items on the UN agenda, in addition to Palestine.
“This represents the most persistent failure of the United Nations”, she insisted.
For seventy years, Ambassador Lodhi said, India has prevented the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, through force and fraud, from ‘exercising their fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination’.
She told the world body that the deployment of tens of thousands of Indian troops in occupied Kashmir has been aimed to suppress the legitimate freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people.
India, she said, “uses all methods from barbaric violence and extreme cruelty to fraudulent elections to deprive the Kashmiris of their right to self-determination and perpetuate its unlawful occupation”.
But, Ambassador Lodhi asserted, none of this has extinguished the Kashmiris yearning and aspiration for freedom from occupation, adding that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will continue to wage the struggle for their right to self-determination with courage and conviction.
The Pakistani envoy reminded the world body that the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination has been recognized and promised to them by the UN Security Council and by both India and Pakistan. “But they are still waiting for the UN to fulfill its promise of holding a UN supervised Plebiscite to enable them to determine their political destiny”, she said.
Reaffirming Kashmir’s status as a disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions of the UN Security Council, Ambassador Lodhi said, “Contrary to Indian claims, Jammu and Kashmir never was and never can be an integral part of India”.
Ambassador Lodhi also brought into focus the plight of the Palestinian people, saying, “In the Middle East, the tragedy of Palestine has intensified.”
She said that “the continued denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is the core underlying cause of conflict and a grave impediment to lasting peace in the Middle East”.
Ambassador Lodhi expressed Pakistan’s continued support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and added that a strong and viable state of Palestine was the only guarantor of peace in the region. She criticized the continuation of the illegal policy of settlement construction which was progressively eroding the future state of Palestine from within.
Pointing out that the continued existence of colonialism in any form was contrary to the UN Charter and to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ambassador Lodhi called for the summoning of political will for implementation of relevant UN resolutions and decisions on decolonization.
“The UN has a moral responsibility in this regard and we must all work toward eliminating the remaining vestiges of colonialism”, she concluded.