UN concerned over restrictions in Kashmir, urges for ‘maximum restraint’ in region

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The United Nations on Thursday reiterated its concerns over the latest restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, which, the organisation said, could “exacerbate the human rights situation in the region”.

“The Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir with concern and makes an appeal for maximum restraint,” said spokesman for the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric.

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

Guterres’s remarks came after the BJP-led Centre revoked Article 370 earlier this week to withdraw the special status from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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Guterres further appealed to both India and Pakistan to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir.

“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 stressed during a daily press briefing.

The recent developments in the region have spiralled tensions between India and Pakistan. Rattled by New Delhi’s decisions, Islamabad “rejected” the move and said it will exercise “all possible options” to counter the steps, especially after the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019, was passed both the house of the Parliament this week.

Pakistan on Wednesday decided to downgrade bilateral ties with India and suspend all bilateral trade activities with the neighbouring country in the aftermath of the scrapping of special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir.

On its part, New Delhi asked Islamabad to review its decision so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved while strictly maintaining that its steps in Jammu and Kashmir are an “entirely internal affair”.

The international community has urged both countries to exercise restraint and ensure that peace and stability prevail across the Line of Control (LoC).

(With ANI inputs)

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