UN chief offers to mediate on Kashmir issue

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks at a news conference at UN headquarters on September 18, 2019 in New York City. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2019

UN chief offers to mediate on Kashmir issue

  • Urges India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue
  • Says human rights must be “respected” in Indian-administered Kashmir 

ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday offered to mediate on Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India urging the two sides to engage in dialogue to deescalate tension. 
“I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem,” Guterres said in a press conference at the outset of the 74th session of the General Assembly in New York.
He said that he would continue to advocate for a peaceful solution to Kashmir issue. However, he added that “our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it.” 
Gueterres further stressed the need to respect human rights in Indian-administered Kashmir which is under strict security lockdown and communications blackout for the past six weeks now with businesses and schools closed and reports of the use of heavy force against civilians by the India security forces. 
“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory,” he said. 
Tensions heightened between Pakistan and India after New Delhi withdrew the special status of the part of disputed Kashmir under its administrative control deploying thousands of troops to control civilian agitation.
Islamabad has been extremely critical of the restrictions imposed by New Delhi in Indian-administered Kashmir and expelled the Indian envoy, cutting off all trade ties with its neighboring nuclear state, calling the action “unilateral” and a “violation of international law.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 27, where he has pledged to speak for the rights of Kashmiris.
Pakistan in recent weeks had also called for an international investigation into the situation and reports of human rights violations in the valley.


Riyadh gears up for Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on stage 

Updated 29 min 59 sec ago

Riyadh gears up for Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan on stage 

  • Two of Pakistan’s most famous singers are set to perform in the Saudi capital on Oct. 25
  • Both artists have also received immense fame across the border, and have millions of Indian fans

ISLAMABAD: The South Asian diaspora in Riyadh is gearing up to welcome two famed vocal talents from Pakistan, Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, in the Saudi capital on Oct. 25.
The news was reported in a Twitter post on Saturday, by Saudi Royal Court Adviser, Turki Alalshikh, who serves as Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority in the Kingdom.
“For our Indian and Pakistani brothers and sisters in Riyadh, Atif Aslam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will be waiting for you on the 25th of October,” the post said.

Most recently, Aslam sang a haunting rendition of famed Pakistani Qawali master, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Wohi Khuda Hai’ on the popular music platform, Coke Studio. Since it premiered last week, the song and video has amassed 13 million views.
Aslam remains one of the most revered stars out of Pakistan’s music scene and has enjoyed immense success across the border in neighboring India as well, where the singer’s crooning voice is a favorite for Bollywood soundtracks. Pakistan and India have an almost identical spoken language.
Khan, like Aslam, is also a hugely popular artist out of Pakistan and has received similar appreciation in India where he has sung for notable films. A nephew of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, he performed his uncle’s original song, ‘Afreen Afreen,’ in 2016, and it remains the highest viewed video out of Pakistan and Coke Studio, at 288 million views.
Both artists have frequently been praised for their talents, and the work they produce which bridges distances through music between bitter rivals Pakistan and India.
Currently, roughly 250,000 Pakistanis live in Saudi Arabia with nearly a million calling the UAE home.