Resolve Kashmir, UN Chief Tells India, Pakistan

SRINAGAR: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his offer of “good offices” to resolve the Kashmir issue, which India has resolutely rejected in the past as New Delhi considers the dispute with Pakistan a bilateral matter.

“I’d offered my good offices several times and we hope that this is something that can be solved peacefully,” he said at his news conference on Friday.

While replying to a question by a Pakistani reporter on the Kashmir issue, he added that he hoped “the situation in Kashmir is a situation in which human rights are respected and in which people can live in peace and security”.

Citing the Simla Agreement signed in 1972 by then Indian Prime Minister India Gandhi and Pakistan President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, India has rejected any third party involvement in the Kashmir dispute.

The two countries agreed under the pact to resolve all disputes bilaterally.

Guterres said: “The position of the UN and the resolutions that were taken are the same, remain the same. We have, as you know, a peacekeeping operation there.”

While Islamabad and its supporters assert that the UN Security Council has endorsed the holding of a plebiscite in Kashmir, its resolution adopted on April 21, 1948, requires the Pakistani government first “to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting, and to prevent any intrusion into the State of such elements and any furnishing of material aid to those fighting in the state”. (IANS)

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