New York, 03 November, 2016
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, told the world body that peace in South Asia cannot be achieved without a just solution of Kashmir dispute.
Speaking in a debate in the UN's Third Committee on the universal principle of right to self determination, the Pakistani envoy stressed the urgency of resolving the Kashmir issue saying, "it is urgent and vital to do this" to establish lasting peace on the region.
Pakistan, she said, remains committed to a just solution of Kashmir in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and Security Council resolutions.
"For nearly 70 years", she declared, "Kashmiris have waited for implementation of UNSC resolutions"
Today, she said, a new generation of Kashmiris has risen to demand freedom from India's illegal occupation. "This uprising is led mainly by Kashmiri youth, armed with nothing more than a hunger of freedom in their hearts and a belief in the righteousness of their cause."
"Day after day Kashmiris brave bullets and curfews to demand their right to determine their destiny", Ambassador Lodhi said.
The Pakistani envoy emphasized that the struggle of Kashmiris for liberation from illegal occupation is a 'legitimate struggle' under international law. She said that according to declarations of the United Nations on Self Determination, the Kashmiris have the right to struggle for their right to self-determination "by all means at their disposal". "And, they have the right to receive moral and political support from the international community", she added.
"It is anachronistic and unacceptable that even in the 21st century millions of people are coerced to live under foreign occupation and alien domination, and are denied their inalienable right to self-determination", she said.
Ambassador Lodhi also said that history bears witness that the spirit of a people, determined to decide their fate and destiny cannot be broken by brutal repression. "Might does not make right. It never did and never will", she stressed.
Rejecting racism, xenophobia and intolerance, she said that these were against the dignity and equality of humankind, and has no place in any religion and culture.
"Discrimination on the basis of religion is a contemporary form of racism", the Pakistani envoy said and added that faith-based discrimination, stereotyping people on the grounds of belief, inciting violence by hate speech and defamation of religions are all violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
She assured the world body of Pakistan's continued support to all international initiatives aimed at promoting greater understanding and mutual respect among all the world's religions and civilizations.
She concluded by urging all those "who believe in humanity's common future, to help in evolving a consensus for action to combat the forces of xenophobia, prejudice, hatred and racism."