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Pak FM Qureshi warns of 'accidental war' with India


Islamabad, Sep 13: Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has warned that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir risks sparking an "accidental war".

"Pakistan and India understand the consequences of a conflict. But he added that "an accidental war" cannot be ruled out. ... If the situation persists ... then anything is possible," Qureshi told journalists on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva on Wednesday.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

He said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet "was keen to visit" the region.

Pakistan wants 'third party mediation' in India's internal matter: Qureshi

Qureshi's statement has come even though Islamabad has been left red-faced after its desperate attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue fell flat. The country has found itself isolated after being snubbed at the United Nations, as well as by countries like the United States, France, and Russia.

The Pakistan foreign minister said that Pakistan would continue to raise voice for the rights of Kashmiri people at every forum.

He was speaking at Islamabad airport on Thursday on his return from a three-day visit to Geneva where he apprised the UN Human Rights Council of human rights situations in Kashmir.

He said that the "Kashmiri people are not alone in their just struggle for right to self-determination and Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to their Kashmiri brethren." Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

He ruled out the possibility of bilateral talks to resolve the tensions. "In this environment and with the mindset that we see in New Delhi today, I do not see any room for bilateral engagement," he said.

He added that a multilateral forum or a third-party mediator would likely be needed. "If the US plays a role that can be important because they have a considerable influence in the region."

India on Tuesday delivered a stinging rebuttal to Qureshi at the UN human rights body in Geneva, insisting that his statement was a "fabricated narrative from the epicentre of global terrorism".

Pakistan has repeatedly been cornered in international forums over the Kashmir matter, be it at the United Nations or with the United States. Barring China, no country has extended cooperation to the Islamic nation in its bid to malign India.

Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and expelled the Indian high commissioner following the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

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