Qureshi urges US not to ignore ground realities in IIOJK

Islamabad, February 12 (KMS): Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged the Biden administration not to overlook the ground realities vis-à-vis occupied Kashmir as he urged the world to help in reaching a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute before it was too late.

He was addressing a photography and cultural exhibition held at the Foreign Office in Islamabad as part of Kashmir Solidarity Day activities.

“I expect the new Biden administration that has always talked of fundamental human rights to stop ignoring the ground realities in held Kashmir,” the foreign minister asserted.

Mr Qureshi’s comment came in the backdrop of the controversy that started with a tweet by the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in which Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir was referred to as India’s Jammu and Kashmir.

The State Department’s spokesman, Ned Price later clarified at a media briefing that US policy on Kashmir had not changed and it still considered Kashmir as a disputed territory.

At the photography exhibition, Mr Qureshi once again took a jab at the Arab-dominated Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by asking it to respect its people’s sentiments about Kashmir.

“I expect the OIC to not overlook the sentiments of the people in their countries. Priorities of governments could be different, but the sentiment of the people is somewhat different. Recognise it, see for yourself how things are moving,” the foreign minister said as he recalled that Pakistan was the founding member of the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries.

Urging the world to help in resolving the dispute, Mr Qureshi said: “We all have to sit down and find a way out.” He warned that the escalating situation was unsustainable and some “accident” could happen.

The foreign minister reminded the world that it could be sucked into the conflict if peace and stability was affected.

The FO spokesman, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry said that Pakistan was “disappointed” about the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the State Department’s tweet regarding the resumption of mobile internet in IIOJK.

“The reference is inconsistent with the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir as recognised by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions and the international community,” he maintained.

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