WASHINGTON, Jan 18 (APP):Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, highlighted the grave humanitarian situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir during his talks with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo Friday, while calling for the resolution of the “core” Indo-Pakistan dispute over Kashmir to usher in peace in the region.

A press release issued by the Pakistan Embassy said that the talks between the two officials, held at the State Department, were wide-ranging covering bilateral
ties and regional issues.

The foreign minister told Secretary Pompeo that “peace in South Asia would remain elusive until India agrees to the resolution of the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir according to United Nations resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan heightened when New Delhi illegally annexed the dispute state on August 5 and followed up by imposing curfew, arresting thousands of citizens, including their political leaders, and cutting off all communications links.

Simultaneously, India stepped violations of the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and has been moving heavy military equipment along the LoC.

FM Qureshi expressed concern that the Indian government’s extremist Hindutva agenda and its belligerence on the Line of Control had created a dangerous situation in South Asia.

Meanwhile, a statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, as posted on the department’s website, said that among the subjects they discussed included Iran’s activities in the region, the importance of U.S.-Pakistan cooperation on the Afghan peace process, and building bilateral economic ties.

According to the Pakistan embassy press release, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that close engagement between Pakistan and the United States had always been mutually beneficial and a factor for stability in South Asia. He stressed that a more robust trade and investment relationship is key to achieving President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s shared vision for a long term and enduring partnership.

Qureshi said convergence between Pakistan and the United States had created a unique opportunity for peace in Afghanistan. Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts for the Afghan reconciliation process, Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that peace in Afghanistan was ultimately a shared responsibility.

Secretary Pompeo appreciated Pakistan’s support for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and its efforts for peace in the neighborhood, the embassy press release said.

The Foreign Minister, who is paying a visit to the United States in the backdrop of recent developments in the Middle East, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to promoting peace in the region. He briefed Secretary Pompeo on his discussions in Tehran and Riyadh, while stressing that any conflict will destabilize the region as well as the global economy.

Qureshi’s remarks came after Wednesday’s review of the the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir at a meeting of the UN Security Council — the second time the
15-member body met in five months — at UN Headquarters in New York.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed the Council meeting, pledging Pakistan’s continued moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people until they accomplish their inalienable right to self-determination.

In New York, Qureshi had also updated UN leaders over the situation in Kashmir as well as on his mission to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Referring to the tensions in the Gulf, the foreign minister re-affirmed that Pakistan will not participate in any conflict in the region.

“We will be a partner for peace,” the Foreign minister said, adding that Pakistan would help defuse tensions and promote peace in the region.