UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan and India again engaged in a verbal duel over the Kashmir dispute - this time in the General Assembly’s Decolonisation Committee - after a Pakistani diplomat called for peacefully resolving the decades-old problem on the basis of Security Council resolutions.

“The inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is recognised by a number of Security Council resolutions,” Nabeel Munir, a Minister at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations told the 193-member Committee.

He said that the decolonisation agenda of the United Nations would be incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and that Islamabad was willing to engage New Delhi to settle the issue.

“Pakistan is willing to engage India in a comprehensive dialogue to normalise relations between the two countries by finding an amicable solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Peaceful resolution of this dispute is imperative for durable peace and stability in South Asia,” the Pakistani diplomat said, quoting Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s address in the UN General Assembly last month.

Munir also called for concerted effort to ensure a uniform implementation of Security Council resolutions, noting that selective implementation eroded the confidence of the international community and undermined the credibility of the United Nations system.

Exercising his right of reply, Abhishek Singh, a First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN, rejected as “untenable” comments made by the Pakistani representative and reminded him about Modi’s remarks from his address to the General Assembly last month in which the Indian leader had said that he is prepared to engage in serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan “in a peaceful atmosphere without the shadow of terrorism.”

Responding to the Indian statement, Munir, the Pakistani representative, said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the “just struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their inalienable right to self-determination cannot be put under the label of terrorism.”

He said Pakistan said his reference to Jammu and Kashmir was entirely relevant to the Committee’s work. The Decolonisation Declaration stated that all subjugated people had the right to self-determination, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been denied that right for 60 years.

On his part, the Indian diplomat said that it is regrettable that Pakistan has made a reference to Jammu and Kashmir, which he claimed was an integral part of India.

Jammu and Kashmir was never an integral part of India and the United Nations asserted that its final disposition would be made through a plebiscite under United Nations auspices, the Pakistani representative responded in a back and forth engagement with the Indian delegate.

No election by India could substitute for a free and fair United Nations plebiscite, he said.

“The right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is recognised by numerous UNSC resolutions. The denial of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for over 60 years is ,therefore, very much relevant to the discussions in this Committee,” the Pakistani delegate added.

The Indian representative described Pakistan’s position on Jammu and Kashmir as “untenable”.

The Pakistani representative responded, in right of reply, by stressing that attacking an argument did not undermine its legality.