United Nations, Mar 11:

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has admitted that Islamabad faces an “uphill task” to get the Kashmir issue into the “centre” of the agenda of the United Nations.

Zardari also fumbled as he went on to refer to India, describing it first as “our friend” before using the term “neighbouring” country.

“You’re also right to note that we face a particularly uphill task to try and get Kashmir into the centre of the agenda at the United Nations,” Zardari said at a press conference here on Friday, responding to a question that drew parallels between the situation in Palestine with Kashmir.

Pakistan rakes up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at every UN forum and platform, irrespective of the topic or agenda being discussed.

However, it fails to get any traction or support for its agenda from the wider UN membership that considers Kashmir to be a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

“And whenever the issue of Kashmir is brought up, our friends within, with.. our friend… our.. our… neighbouring countries, strongly object, vociferously object and they perpetuate a post-fact narrative where they try to claim that this is not a dispute for the United Nations, that this is not a disputed territory recognised for the international community,” the 34-year-old Pakistani foreign minister said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

Zardari said “while we do find it difficult to get the truth across, we are persistent in our efforts” and added that at every opportunity, whether it is in the UN Security Council or other events, he makes the effort to mention both the plight of the people of Palestine and of Kashmir.

“I think your parallel is very justified. There are many similarities between the plight of the people of Kashmir and the plight of the people of Palestine. I think it’s fair to say that both issues remain unaddressed by the United Nations and we’d like to see an extra focus not only on Palestine but also on Kashmir,” he added.

Zardari was addressing the media here on the outcome of the Women in Islam Conference and Commemoration of the First Islamophobia Day, on the sidelines of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).–(PTI)

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