Pak FM asks parties to be 'united' on Kashmir

Pak FM asks parties to be 'united' on Kashmir

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi speaks to media representatives on the Kashmir issue at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad. (Photo AFP)

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday asked Opposition parties to come together on Kashmir, saying the country should have a united stand on the issue.

Addressing the media in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where he celebrated Eid ul-Adha and visited a refugee camp, Qureshi said the entire "Pakistani nation and political leadership is united on the issue of Kashmir and one voice will be sounded on August 14 in support of Kashmiris."

Pakistan has announced that it will observe August 14 as 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' and August 15 as 'Black Day' after India scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

Qureshi urged for unity among political parties in Pakistan on Kashmir and warned that doing politics on the issue would harm the cause.

He urged political parties to come together on the Kashmir issue, saying that Pakistan must have a united stance on the matter.

"We have our differences...But there is no difference on the issue of Kashmir. If there was any difference, a joint resolution would not have been passed," he said.

Last week, a joint sitting of Parliament was marred due to differences between treasury and opposition over the language of a resolution against India

Opposition lawmakers last week condemned the arrest of Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter and vice-president of Opposition PML-N, saying the Imran Khan government’s action amounts to dividing the nation at this crucial juncture when unity is required to give a befitting response to the Indian government for scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Qureshi said India's "unilateral" abrogation of the special status of Kashmir has left Kashmiris with no option but to stand against it.

India has reiterated that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution removing special status to Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter and advised Pakistan to not create an alarming environment after the move.

To a question about giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan, Qureshi said that doing so would harm Kashmir cause and Pakistan’s stance.

“It was discussed in the cabinet as there is a popular demand for it. But we will not do anything which can harm our legal position on Kashmir,” he said.

Earlier, Qureshi offered Eid prayers in Muzafarabad to express "solidarity" with Kashmiris.

Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit PoK on August 14 and also address its legislative assembly.

He said Pakistan has decided to take the issue of Kashmir again to the UN Security Council and China has assured to extend full support for this purpose.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also spend Eid ul-Adha in Muzaffarabad to show "solidarity" with Kashmiris. 

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