KATHMANDU, Aug 24: Pakistan has asked Nepal to play its role as the chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for peace and stability in the region amid its renewed tension with India after New Delhi altered the status of Jammu and Kashmir.
In his telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday afternoon, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi also urged Nepal to “impress upon India to ease the suffering of the people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, according a statement issued by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. Qureshi said that the steps taken by India entailed a grave risk for peace and security in the region.
The conversation between the two foreign ministers came hours after visiting Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishanker wrapped up his two-day official visit to Nepal. Jaishanker, who was here to co-chair the Joint Commission (JC) meeting between the two countries, had urged Nepal to support India’s move on Kashmir.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi in his briefing to his Nepali counterpart about the Kashmir move described it as “illegal and “unilateral actions” of India and said that the move was also in contravention of the international law and UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
While refraining from taking a stand on India’s recent move on Kashmir, Nepal has expressed a desire to see India and Pakistan resolve the disputed issue through peaceful dialogue. Although some of the South Asian countries have recognized the Kashmir issue as an “internal affair” of India, Nepal has so far chosen not to make any such statement.
During the telephonic conversation, Foreign Minister Gyawali said that Nepal was closely watching the situation and would continue to call for settlement of all disputes through peaceful means. The two leaders agreed to remain in contact and continue to work together for peace and stability in the region, according to the statement.
Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised the Nepali foreign minister of the continuously deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation including severe shortage of food and lifesaving medicines, communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5.