India and Pakistan got into a fresh verbal duel on Kashmir at the United Nations after Islamabad made “gratuitous references” to the issue, just a week after they sparred over it at the world body.
The decolonisation agenda of the UN would be “incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Pakistan’s Deputy Permanent Representative Raza Bashir Tarar said during the General Debate of the Special Political and Decolonisation Committee here on Monday.
He said Pakistan is committed to finding a peaceful resolution of the issue “acceptable to all sides, especially the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Exercising India’s Right of Reply, First Secretary at the Indian mission Prakash Gupta said Pakistan has once again “regrettably” raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India.
“We reject in their entirety the untenable comments from the distinguished delegate of Pakistan, the references to Jammu and Kashmir in them, being completely irrelevant to the work of this Committee.
“The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have repeatedly expressed their free will and peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with democratic practices and they continue to do so,” Gupta said.
In response, Tarar again took the floor and said the Indian representative has made an “untenable assertion” that the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir is irrelevant to the debate on decolonisation.
“...Jammu and Kashmir is neither an integral part of India nor has ever been so,” he claimed.
India had the final word when it exercised its second Right of Reply in response to Pakistan’s “gratuitous references.”
Mr. Gupta asserted that Jammu and Kashmir has always been an integral part of India and “we completely reject the untenable references to Jammu and Kashmir, as these do not pertain to the work of this Committee, which can be seen from the work of the Committee so far.”
The fresh war of words came just a week after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and termed as “unwarranted” reference by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in his address to the General Assembly that Kashmir is a “symbol of failure” of the UN system.