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NEW YORK, Feb 21 (APP):Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi has said that the irresponsible conduct of Indian leadership was destabilizing an already fraught situation between India and Pakistan following last week’s Pulwama incident in occupied Kashmir.
“We see an escalation in the rhetoric from the Indian side, a spate of threatening statements by Indian leaders… The situation is very fraught,” she said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television.
“What we have is a situation which can turn into a very grave security threat not only to our region but also to international peace and security,” the Pakistani envoy added.Maleeha Lodhi, who met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, said she urged him “to play a role” in efforts to de-escalate the heightening tensions between the two South Asian neighbours. The time to act is now, she added.
The UN chief did offer his good offices to help ease the crisis, a move which India is certain to reject.
Pakistan, she said, would like to see a resumption of dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues between the two countries.
In this regard, she said Prime Minister Imran Khan had renewed his offer of talks to the Indian leadership. He also said that he was willing to talk about terrorism as well as the longstanding Kashmir dispute.
Responding to a question, Ambassador Lodhi categorically denied any Pakistani involvement in Thursday’s suicide attack against a convoy of Indian paramilitary soldiers in Pulwama as being alleged by India. “We don’t think the kind of irresponsible rhetoric that is coming out from Delhi is the way to go,” she said.
The only way that the two countries could resolve their differences was to talk to each other, the Pakistani envoy said. “That is reasonable, that’s rational and its important and I believe it is also urgent.”
Ambassador Lodhi said she believed that electoral politics in India was coming in the way of holding talks with Pakistan to deal with the issues between them.
“Let’s not forget the context and backdrop against which this violence occurred — the denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said. “They have suffered; last year was one of the deadliest years in recent history in Occupied Kashmir — five hundred civilians killed.”
Specifically asked about Jaish-e-Mohammad, Ambassador Lodhi said it was a proscribed organization in Pakistan.
India, she said, routinely puts the blame on Pakistan, never acknowledging their own failure in managing the situation as the occupying power in Kashmir. India should now look inwards … at its human rights abuses in Kashmir, as documented not just by international human rights organizations, but also by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Responding to another question, Ambassador Lodhi said that prime Minister Imran Khan has offered Pakistan’s cooperation in investigating the Pulwama incident, saying he would take action if actionable evidence was provided. “I think his words are loud and clear.”