China seeks closed-door UNSC talks on Kashmir

United Nations/Islamabad: Pakistan is hell-bent on externalising the recent developments on the status of Kashmir. China, a permanent member, egged on by its all-weather friend Pakistan, has asked for "closed door consultations" in the UN Security Council on the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

This is on the basis of a letter Islamabad wrote on the issue to Poland, the UNSC President for August. Pakistan has failed on three occasions earlier to get the world body to have an open discussion on the issue of Kashmir.

The format of a closed-door consultation would be such that Pakistan would be precluded from participating in it. Also, the deliberations would be secret, without being broadcast or accessible to reporters. While this will be just a consultation, one will have to see if it leads to a statement by the UNSC on Kashmir.

China wanted the consultations to take place on Thursday, but since the schedule was already set for the day, it will now be taken up on Friday.

Except for China, all the other four permanent members of the Security Council have openly backed New Delhi's position that disputes between India and Pakistan are bilateral matters, with the US even saying that the Kashmir developments are an internal matter of India.

Sources said that France and China differed at the meeting on how the Kashmir issue should be discussed. While China wanted the consultation to be formally dedicated to the Kashmir issue, France wanted it to be taken up at a lower level as "other matters" in a consultation - a sort of footnote to a consultation, sources said.

India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution was an internal matter and that Pakistan should "accept the reality".

It will be almost after four decades that the Kashmir issue will be discussed in the UNSC. ‘‘The world needs to realise that it is an issue of humanity and not a piece of land between the two countries," the State-run PTV quoted Foreign Minister Qureshi as saying.

Last Friday, Qureshi had air-dashed to Beijing for urgent consultations with the Chinese leadership on the issue of raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. After his return to Pakistan, he had said Beijing has backed Islamabad’s move.

By ARUL LOUIS

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