US must do more to help defuse situation in Kashmir : Asad Majeed

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Dr Asad Majeed Khan called on the Trump administration to help ease tensions after India revoked autonomy of Kashmir.
In an interview, Khan said the US and only the US could do and must do more to help defuse the situation in Kashmir, and to inject some sanity on the Indian side.
“Kashmir even according to India’s own constitution has enjoyed a special status. What India has done is to unilaterally change the status of the territory which is recognised by the entire international community including the United Nations as a disputed territory and we as a party to that dispute have a serious issue with what India has done,” the envoy said.
He continued, “The consequences of India’s action has led to a lock-down in the region and India actually has its troops present in the valley, turning the whole valley into the largest prison in the world with about 12 million people watched by troops and we are concerned about it.”
Responding to a question about Pakistan’s response on the situation, the ambassador said, “The world saw our restraint even during the Pulwama crisis where India violated our sovereignty and sent aircraft to bomb our side of the territory, even in the face of that kind of aggression our response was very measured.”
“Our response was dictated by restraint. Our prime minister was here on a visit to the US and consistently spoke about Pakistan’s desire for peace. I think we remain committed to that but essentially I think what is really important is that this escalation we are seeing on India’s side needs to be de-escalated for the two countries to engage in dialogue.”
Referring to US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation over the Kashmir issue, Khan said: “We welcome the president’s offer to do so. India did not accept the offer. I think the US continued engagement has an important role to play in not just adding — trying to help two countries have a dialogue to resolve the issue but also to urge India to undo things they have done over the last week in unleashing pressure, arresting people across the board, in turning the valley into a huge prison.”

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