UNITED NATIONS, Sep 22 (APP): While reaffirming Pakistan’s support to the United Nations on it’s 75th anniversary, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told world leaders via video-link Monday that Kashmiri people still await the implementation of their UN-pledged right to self-determination.
In a forthright speech at a high-level meeting marking the landmark occasion, Qureshi enumerated U.N.’s accomplishments in various fields, but said, “The Jammu & Kashmir and Palestine disputes are the Organization’s most glaring and long-standing failures.”
The Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is on the agenda of the UN Security Council, which has adopted at least 11 resolutions since 1948 that call for an impartial plebiscite to determine the wishes of the people in the disputed state.
“The people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir still await fulfillment of the commitment made to them by the United Nations to grant them their right to self-determination,” the foreign minister said, adding that U.N.’s failures must not be overlooked as the organization celebrates its diamond jubilee.
“The UN was hope born of the ashes of unmitigated suffering of war and misplaced notions of superiority of some over the others,” the foreign minister said.
“It addressed a historic need – the need ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’; to reaffirm equal and fundamental rights of men and women and nations large and small; and to promote better life in larger freedoms.
“It has helped prevent the kind of destruction visited upon humanity twice within a generation,” Qureshi said of the U.N.
“It has advanced arms control, facilitated decolonization, assisted in tackling climate change and addressing threats to the environment, aided in establishing a freer, more equal and rules-based world, and worked to end hunger, disease and poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“But”, he said, “the euphoria must not unsight us of its failings and deficiencies. The whole is not bigger than the sum of its parts. The Organization is only as good as its Member States wish it to be.”
The foreign minister said the UN is derided as a ‘talk shop’; its resolutions are flouted; international cooperation, especially in the Security Council, is at its lowest; force is threatened with abandon; critical treaties and covenants, designed to promote development and protect the globe’s fragile environment, are discarded.
“The very forces that led to the Second World War, racism and fascism, taking the shape of rising xenophobia and Islamophobia, are on the rise again,” he said.
“While we have seen enormous international cooperation to combat Covid-19, it has failed to unify humanity as it could have.”
At the same time, Qureshi said Pakistan has been, and remains, an ardent believer in multilateralism and the indispensability of the United Nations.
Pakistan has been on the UN Security Council 7 times, headed ECOSOC 5 times, and led the UN General Assembly and the G77, it was pointed out.
“We are active participants in reform processes, including the reform of the Security Council,’ the foreign minister said, obviously referring to Pakistan’s active role in pushing for restructuring the 15-member body to make it more effective, transparent and accountable through decisions made on the basis of consensus among member states.
“Both as a member state and our nationals have contributed to advancing the UN’s goals and objectives, in the best and most honourable tradition of service to humanity,” he said, pointing out that Pakistan has contributed over 200,000 troops to 47 peacekeeping missions in 26 countries, loosing 157 of its bravest in the process.
“We have hosted the largest protracted refugee population,” he said about millions of Afghans whom Pakistan gave refuge following the 1979 Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.
“Where other countries, subscribing to fascist ideologies, flout UN principles and claim privileged status at the high table only by virtue of size, strength and a misplaced sense of entitlement, Pakistan continues to bear without complaint, more than its fair share of burden,” Qureshi said in a dig at India where Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, been remaking India into an authoritarian, Hindu nationalist state. India is also campaigning for a permanent seat on the Security Council.
“It is my firm conviction that for the UN, its values and its architecture, there is no alternative,” the foreign minister said.
He called on the peoples of the United Nations to rise up to reverse the tides of despair, and prevent forebodings from turning into self-fulfilling prophecies.
“In this noble endeavour, you will find Pakistan always by your side.”
Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram, who was present in the General Assembly Hall, introduced the foreign minister before the playing of his video.
Only one delegate from each of the 193 UN member states was allowed in the iconic hall for maintaining social distancing because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.