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United Nations Chief Says “Don’t Change Kashmir Status”

Don't change Kashmir status, UN chief to both sides

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UN Secretary General concerned over reports of restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir. Pixabay

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres came out on Thursday against changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir and backed Security Council resolutions, of which the main one requires Pakistan to withdraw all its nationals from Kashmir.

His Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said: “The Secretary-General calls on all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter of the United Nations and applicable Security Council resolutions.”

The Council’s Resolution 47 adopted on April 21, 1948, said Pakistan should withdraw its nationals from Kashmir before a plebiscite can be held. Pakistan, however, continues to occupy a significant part of Kashmir making a plebiscite impossible.

Since then, India has said a plebiscite was moot because of Pakistan’s continued occupation and because Kashmiris have had their say in state and national elections.

“The Secretary-General also recalls the 1972 Agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, also known as the Simla Agreement, which states that the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,” Dujarric said.

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UN Chief comments on abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir. Pixabay

While calling for maximum restraint, “the Secretary-General is also concerned over reports of restrictions on the Indian-side of Kashmir, which could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region”, he added.

The Charter provisions directly applicable to the India-Pakistan situation require members to settle their disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of any nation.

The Charter also says that the UN cannot “intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state”.

The Simla Agreement signed in 1972 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was Pakistan’s President at that time, also said that Kashmir was a bilateral issue, thus ruling out third-party intervention.

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UN Chief says that all parties must refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. Pixabay

The Secretary General’s office circulated to members of the Security Council a letter written by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Guterres on August 1 expressing concern about the situation in Kashmir. He also asked Guterres to set up a “fact-finding mission” for Kashmir and to appoint a special representative.

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Dujarric said that the letter was being studied and no decision has been taken on appointing a special representative.

He said that the Secretariat was in contact with the Permanent Missions of India and Pakistan over the recent developments.

Joanna Wronecka, the President of the Security Council, refused to answer a reporter’s question about Qureshi’s letter and if there would any action on it. (IANS)

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Snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir to Help Bring Pollution Down in Neighbouring States

Lotus said early snowfall in happening for the second year in succession in Kashmir

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Snowfall, Jammu, Kashmir
The snowfall will peak in the night on November 7, MET said in a statement. Pixabay

Jammu and Kashmir is likely to receive snowfall in the next two days, which could help bring pollution down in neighbouring states.

“The snowfall accompanied by winds will bring down the particulate matter in the air to great extend,” Sonam Lotus, Director of the J&K Meteorological Department, told IANS.

“The active western disturbance and its interaction with cyclone MAHA, currently located in East Central Arabian Sea, is likely to cause moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of J&K, and Ladakh during November 6-8. The snowfall will peak in the night on November 7,” MET said in a statement.

Lotus said early snowfall in happening for the second year in succession in Kashmir. “It’s good for agriculture, but could damage standing crops,” he said.

Snowfall, Jammu, Kashmir
“The snowfall accompanied by winds will bring down the particulate matter in the air to great extend,” Sonam Lotus, Director of the J&K Meteorological Department, told IANS. Wikimedia Commons

The MET has alerted the J&K administration about the likely disruption in road transport, especially through passes, like Zojilla, and on the Srinagar-Jammu-Leh-Manali Highway and Mughal road, due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.

The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is the main link between Kashmir and the rest of the country.

Last year, the highway remained blocked for several days, cutting Kashmir from rest of the country and causing shortage of essentials in the Valley. Normally, the government stocks up essential supplies ahead of the winter, especially for areas like Tangdhar, Gurez and Ladakh. Most of these areas remain disconnected due to heavy snowfall.

Last year also, Kashmir witnessed snowfall in November. Normally, snowfall begins after November on the upper reaches of Kashmir. The 40-day peak winter season called ‘Chila-e-Kalan’ begins from December 20. Snowfall during the period last longer and is a major source for drinking water in summers.

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The lack of adequate snowfall causes shortage of drinking water in Kashmir in some areas, especially those that are not connected to the drinking water system. (IANS)