Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has criticized India for holding a tourism conference in the disputed region of Kashmir under its presidency of the G20. In an interview with AFP, Zardari stated that India’s actions demonstrated arrogance on the international stage and aimed to push its colonial agenda. He argued that India’s attempt to hold an event in occupied Kashmir would not silence the voices of the Kashmiri people, emphasizing that such actions violated international law, UN Security Council resolutions, and bilateral agreements.
The portion of Kashmir controlled by India has been embroiled in a long-standing conflict, with an insurgency seeking independence or integration with Pakistan. Pakistan controls a smaller part of the region and asserts that hosting the tourism meeting in Kashmir violates international law and agreements. Zardari noted that G20 participants, including the EU and the world’s top 19 economies, are now in an awkward position due to India’s actions. He called on countries that condemn violations of international law in Europe to show equal outrage when such violations occur in Kashmir, drawing a parallel to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
China, which claims the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of Tibet, has sided with Pakistan in condemning the tourism conference. Some Muslim nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have decided not to send government representatives, while certain Western countries have reportedly scaled back their presence.
India’s motive behind hosting the conference is to showcase “normalcy and peace” in the region, with an emphasis on inviting the international community to witness the situation firsthand. However, residents have faced increased security measures, including detentions and warnings against protests or trouble. Zardari argued that Kashmir, one of the most heavily militarized zones globally, cannot be perceived as normal.
Zardari ruled out any possibility of improved relations between India and Pakistan unless New Delhi reverses the constitutional changes it made in 2019 regarding Indian-controlled Kashmir. He stated that the resolution of the Kashmir issue is essential for peace in South Asia and called for meaningful dialogue on shared challenges such as militancy and climate change.
The article highlights the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, with India’s decision to hold the G20 tourism conference in the disputed region serving as the latest point of contention. The statements from Pakistan’s foreign minister reflect Pakistan’s position on the issue and emphasize the need for international attention to violations of international law in Kashmir.