On Sunday, Pakistan used the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) platform to raise the Kashmir issue amid coronavirus pandemic. The country’s State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza asked for the immediate lifting of the “lockdown” there to allow virus containment measures.
Pak raises Kashmir issue
On late Friday, the neighboring country accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal for a video-conference meeting.
Sharing on Twitter, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said, “We have communicated that SAPM (Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister) on Health (Zafar Mirza) will be available to participate in the video conference of SAARC member countries on the issue.”
Other then Mirza, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Bhutanese premier Lotay Tshering, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, took part in the video conference.
The prime purpose of the video conference was to take on the pandemic collectively. However, Pakistan used the opportunity to raise Kashmir, with Mirza calling for the “lockdown” to be lifted in Jammu and Kashmir to deal with the coronavirus threat.
“Equity in health is a fundamental principle of public health. In this regard, let me say that it is a matter of concern that COVID-19 has been reported” from Jammu and Kashmir and because of the health emergency, it is imperative that all “lockdown” there must be lifted immediately.”
“Opening up communication and movement would facilitate dissemination of information, allow distribution of medical supplies and allow containment…to proceed unimpeded,” Special Assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Mirza said.
Responding to the statement, India slammed Pakistan for making this conference political. “Pakistan’s attempt to “politicize” a humanitarian issue by its “unwarranted” statement on Kashmir during the video conference on coronavirus reflected “very poorly” on it,” a statement read.
In a meaningful way, PM Modi asserted that it was important for the SAARC member countries to work together and said the region can best respond to the coronavirus pandemic by “coming together, not growing apart”.
It is not the first time the neighboring country has tried to internationalize the Kashmir issue. Since India abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has gone insane and is interfering in India’s “internal matter”. New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept reality and stop its anti-India speech.