India on Sunday blocked an attempt by Pakistan to raise the subject of Jammu and Kashmir during the South Asian Speakers’ Summit in the Maldives, saying Islamabad should end all state support to terrorism which is the “biggest threat” to humanity.
The two sides had a heated exchange during summit held in the Maldivian Parliament where the representatives of the South Asian countries had gathered.
Pakistan’s Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri tried to raise the Kashmir issue during the discussion on Sustainable Development Goals.
India immediately raised a point of order after which the presiding officer asked Mr Suri to let the Indian representative, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh, to speak, but he did not pay any heed, leading to commotion.
In a strong response, Harivansh hit out at Pakistan for raising India’s internal issue and politicisation of the forum.
“We strongly object to the raising of internal matter of India in this forum. We also reject to the politicisation of this forum by raising the issues which are extraneous to the theme of this summit,” Harivansh said.
“There is a need for Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism and all kinds of state support to the same in the interest of regional peace and stability. Terrorism is the biggest threat to the entire humanity today. Therefore, unanimously we should not allow in this august gathering any kind of circulated statement to become a part of the proceedings,” he said.
Pakistan Senator Quratulain Marri objected to Harivansh’s remarks and said that sustainable development goals for women and young people cannot be achieved without human rights.
Raising a point of order again, the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman retorted: “What moral rights this country has to raise issues related to human rights? The world knows how they committed genocide in a part of their own country and that country is now separate entity called Bangladesh.”
“Since they have raised human rights issue of Kashmir, I would like to state facts that Pakistan has occupied our part of Kashmir known as Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This Pakistan-occupied Kashmir comprises two areas, the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) which Pakistan has illegally occupied through armed action in 1947,” he said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India scrapped provisions of Article 370 of the constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special status and split it into two union territories.
Pakistan has been trying to raise the issue at various international fora, but India has maintained that it is an internal matter.