India, Pakistan Foreign Ministers may face off at UN
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday charged India with having “trampled on diplomatic norms” by cancelling the meeting between Foreign Ministers that it had agreed to just a day prior.
Speaking to presspersons in Islamabad, Mr. Qureshi said the issue of stamps by the Pakistan postal service allegedly glorifying Kashmiri terrorists was used as an excuse by India to cancel the talks.
“They used the issue of stamps as an excuse, which had been issued before this [PM Imran Khan’s] government came to power. To use something that happened in July to justify their actions in September is inappropriate,” Mr. Qureshi added, before leaving for New York.
Countdown to New York
Mr. Qureshi and Ms. Swaraj are now likely to be preparing for a face-off at the UN next week, where they are expected to be present at the same venue on a number of occasions. The two Foreign Ministers are also scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 29.
The two South Asian neighbours have squared off at the UN in previous years as well, with India repeatedly raising the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, and Pakistan flagging alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
On September 27, the two Ministers are set to attend a luncheon meeting of the SAARC council, which could also see some flashpoints. Though SAARC events are normally expected to focus on South Asian issues and not feature bilateral matters, Mr. Qureshi has indicated that he would raise the Kashmir dispute, including at the “Kashmir Contact Group” of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on September 28.
He indicated that Pakistan intended to raise the June report of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights — the first-ever UN report on Kashmir and criticised India for human rights violations in the State — asserting that the findings “could not be dismissed”.
Government sources here brushed aside Mr. Qureshi’s statement, observing that Pakistan “raises Kashmir every year”.