Yesterday, the UN Security Council members met for 90 minutes amid heightened tensions.

UNITED NATIONS (Dunya News) – United Nations has maintained its stance on the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, and has been following the situation in Jammu and Kashmir “with concern” while appealing both sides to exercise “maximum restraint”.

According to a statement issued by UN on August 8: “The position of the United Nations on this region is governed by the Charter...and applicable Security Council resolutions”, said the statement. “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 UN Charter.”

Yesterday, the UN Security Council members met for 90 minutes amid heightened tensions in the disputed Himalayan region, which has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan - the nuclear-armed arch rivals, which have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory.

The 15-nation body heard briefings from Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the UN’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, and Carlos Humberto Loitey, the UN military adviser for peacekeeping operations.

Pakistan requested the Security Council meeting on 13 August, and it was subsequently called for by Permament Member, China.

India has been oppressing the people of Kashmir, killing tens of thousands of innocent people and children over several decades.

After the meeting, Ambassador Zhang said Council members had “expressed their serious concern” concerning the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir...The Kashmir issue should be resolved properly through peaceful means, in accordance with the UN Charter, the relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”

He urged both India and Pakistan to “refrain from taking any unilateral action which might further aggravate” what was an already “tense and very dangerous” situation.

Those countries should "discard the zero-sum game mentality" to the region, he added.

The Security Council met to consider the volatile situation surrounding Kashmir on Friday, addressing the issue directly within the UN body dedicated to resolving matters of international peace and security, for the first time since 1965.

Jammu and Kashmir had its special status within the Indian constitution with an aim to secure rights of Kashmiris until unitarily revoked by the Modi-led Hindu nationalist government on 5 August, seeking tighter control over the region.

Pakistan has asserted that the move violates international law.

Several human rights organisations have condemned human rights abuses by Indian forces in the region. The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) observes and reports on any ceasefire violations.

Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi described her country’s push for Friday’s Security Council meeting as “the first and not the last step.” She said it was the first time in more than 50 years that the council had taken up the issue.

“The fact that this meeting took place is testimony to the fact that this is an internationally recognised dispute,” she told reporters. “The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up ... but their voices were heard today at the United Nations.”

The Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over the region, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly Muslim Kashmir.

Another resolution also calls upon both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.”

"This meeting nullifies India’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India. Today, the whole world is discussing the occupied state and the situation there," she told reporters.

"The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up, their voices may not be heard in their own homes and their own land, but their voices were heard today at the United Nations and their voices will always be heard because Pakistan will always stand by them."

Minutes later, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s UN ambassador, while talking to journalists manipulated facts and negated human rights’ abuses in Kashmir and claimed that it was India’s "internal matter".


Tensions remain high in Kashmir


As the council met, tensions remained high in the disputed Kashmir region.

Earlier on Friday, Pakistan Army’s media wing ISPR reported more exchanges of fire across the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Another Pakistani soldier embraced martyrdom.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Pakistan and India to refrain from any steps that could destabilise Indian-administered Kashmir, while also expressing worrying by the reports of restrictions there.

On August 5, India’s Hindu nationalist government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and ended the decades-old autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir, including powers to pass laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

Before the move, New Delhi sent tens of thousands of extra troops to the disputed region, imposed a curfew, banned public assembly, shut down phone lines and internet and arrested political leaders.