ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday criticized the international community for its role toward the resolution of the Kashmir conflict, questioning if “economic interests” alone would decide the fate of Kashmiris.
Iqbal’s statement came ahead of the Kashmir Solidarity Day, which Pakistan observes every year on the February 5 to express solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between Pakistan and India since their independence from the British rule in 1947. Both Pakistan and India rule parts of the Himalayan territory, but claim it in full and have fought two of their four wars over the disputed region.
However, many in Pakistan believe the world’s lukewarm response to the resolution of Kashmir dispute has much to with India’s economic growth over the past years, which allows New Delhi to ignore international conventions.
“Unfortunately, India feels that it can ignore the international conventions, it can violate the fundamental rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir and it can use its brutal force because it is an attractive market for other countries,” Iqbal told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
“We have to decide whether economics alone will decide the fate of humanity or fundamental rights, law, justice, self-determination and democratic values have any place. If we will only settle for dollars and cents and commercial and economic interests, then this world will become very brutal.”
Ties between bitter rivals India and Pakistan stand frozen since August 5, 2019, when New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status, taking away the territory’s autonomy and dividing it into three federally administered territories.
Pakistan calls the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy part of New Delhi’s alleged attempts to change the demography of the region, and has demanded the world fraternity take notice of it.
Iqbal, however, called out the international community for its “double standards” on Russia’s annexation of Ukraine and the Kashmir issue.
“It is quite an irony that on the one hand the whole western world is fighting a war against annexation… of the eastern parts in Ukraine and they are not willing to compromise on the geography and on the area which has been annexed by Russia, but in Kashmir the international community easily feels it convenient to ignore the annexation by India,” he said.
“These are double standards. And when such double standards are exercised it gives rise to extremism. If we want to see a world which is peaceful, we have to find peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.”