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Kashmir issue a 'festering sore' in South Asia, says Qureshi

September 24, 2010 20:42 IST
Stepping up its rhetoric on Kashmir, Pakistan described the issue as a "festering sore" in South Asia and said that durable peace in the region will remain elusive without a "just solution" that requires practical steps by the international community.

"What bewilders me is the lack of realisation that durable peace in South Asia will remain elusive without a just solution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at an Asia Society meeting in New York on Friday.

His comments came a day after Pakistan Foreign Office said there can be no result-oriented discussions with India on Kashmir unless New Delhi stops treating it as the country's integral part and seeking a solution within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.

Accusing the Indian security forces of killing "peaceful" Kashmiri youth, children and women, he said "occupation and persecution cannot kill the Kashmiri spirit. They are demanding their right to self-determination. Their voice cannot be suppressed. It is time the international community should realise the seriousness of the situation; and take practical steps to cure this festering sore of South Asia. The United States, as the world leader, has special responsibility towards finding a just and peaceful solution of Kashmir."

"It would also be critical for our joint efforts to contain and eradicate terrorism," Qureshi said. At another meeting -- that of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference–Qureshi bracketed the Kashmir issue with the Palestinian problem, saying the two remain the oldest unresolved conflicts on the UN Security Council agenda.

He said Pakistan is committed to finding a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a transcript of his statement made available by the Pakistani mission at the UN.

He also said that Pakistan views the "prevailing situation in Indian-Occupied-Kashmir with grave concern" citing the deaths of over 100 Kashmiris in recent months. "We strongly condemn this brutality. The human rights of Kashmiri people must be respected and their voices heard to create an enabling environment for a peaceful solution of the longstanding Jammu and Kashmir dispute," he said.

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