Top UN leadership call for India-Pakistan dialogue, reduction of tensions

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APP14-07 NEW YORK: December 07 - Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi shaking hand with the UN Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters. APP

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 7 (APP): Top United Nations officials called for resumption of dialogue and de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan during their meetings with the visiting Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

During his flying trip to New York, Fatemi met Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman and briefed them on the situation in South Asia and Afghanistan as well as on Pakistan’s tough counter-terrorism measures.

Fatemi also paid a courtesy call on the Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres, who will take over as world’s top diplomat on January 1. He conveyed congratulations to him on behalf of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, and expressed the hope that the fruitful cooperation between Pakistan and the UN would further enhance under his leadership.

Fatemi also had a luncheon meeting with a group of Arab ambassadors where conversation focused on UN reforms, especially of the Security Council to make the 15-member body more effective, accountable and representative.

He was accompanied in all his meetings by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi.

The special assistant to the prime minister, who arrived in Washington from Islamabad on Monday, came to New York on Tuesday morning. He returned the same evening to the US capital where he will resume his interaction with the US administration and reach out to the officials who are likely to join the new administration following the recent US Presidential election.

Fatemi, in his meetings at UN Headquarters, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to multilateralism. He said Pakistan expected the UN to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region, especially in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Recalling that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reached out to India and made efforts to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, he expressed disappointment at the efforts not being reciprocated.

The special assistant to the prime minister also briefed them about continued human rights excesses being committed by Indian occupation forces on the Kashmiri people. Efforts to quash a popular, peaceful, spontaneous and indigenous uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir had led to the killing of over a hundred people, injuries to thousands with over six hundred blinded by the brutal use of pellet guns.

To divert international attention from the atrocities, Indian forces had also stepped up ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary. A particularly deplorable aspect of this escalation was the deliberate targeting of civilians. He brought to their attention about the attack on a passenger bus and a ambulance on Pakistan side of LoC.

India had also closed the doors on any bilateral engagement. In this situation, the UN had a moral responsibility to call for ending human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir, play its role in resolution of this long festering dispute and help in immediately de-escalating tensions.

On Afghanistan, Fatemi said Pakistan was ready to play its part for peace and stability in the country. Pakistan had extended the deadline for return of Afghan refugees, as it believed that Afghan refugees should go back to their homeland with dignity and honour.

The Special Assistant also briefed them on the consolidation of democracy in Pakistan, the country’s economic revival and its counter terrorism efforts. The Counter Terrorism operations had been very successful in eliminating terrorist infrastructure and hideouts. This campaign, he said, would continue until the last terrorist was eliminated.

Deputy Secretary General Eliasson expressed concern at the regional situation and called for the lowering of tensions. He said Pakistan was an important member of the United Nations and had an important role in the region. He also appreciated Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees for decades.