ISLAMABAD - Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood on Thursday said the international community had the “moral and political responsibility” to immediately bring to an end the humanitarian nightmare in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) where the people were suffering due to continuous denial of their fundamental rights.

Addressing the diplomats at an event held here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to mark the 74th United Nations Day, the foreign secretary urged the need for urgent realization that the situation in IoK was a serious threat to the peace and security of the region.

“Nowhere is this more egregious than in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where a just struggle of people to achieve their inalienable right of self-determination is being suppressed through the use of force,” he said.

The foreign secretary said the inhuman lockdown imposed on eight million people since August 5 had created a dire human rights situation, over which the concern of the Kashmiris, of Pakistanis, and of people of goodwill everywhere continued to grow.

He said the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had the inescapable obligation to ensure full implementation of its relevant resolutions, stipulating a free and fair plebiscite, and enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.

Mahmood said the UN Day reminded of collective responsibility to abide by the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

“For us, in Pakistan, it is another occasion to renew our commitment to the realization of the Quaid’s vision as well,” he said, adding that Pakistan was proud of its collaboration with the United Nations, spread over more than seven decades.

He mentioned that multilateralism remained the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and said the country’s contributions to the UN peacekeeping missions were the most visible manifestation of this commitment.

“As one of the largest and most consistent troops contributing country, Pakistan has contributed 200,000 peacekeepers to 46 peacekeeping missions around the world with 156 of its Blue Berets rendering the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

He said Pakistan also hosted one of the oldest peacekeeping missions, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

“We deeply value UNMOGIP’s work in monitoring the volatile situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and believe that its strengthening has become critically important in view of the recent developments,” he said.   The foreign secretary said with friendliness and goodwill as hallmarks of its foreign policy, Pakistan would never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the UN Charter.

He said Pakistan’s commitment to multilateralism in general and the United Nations in particular remained firm and abiding. “We stand ready to work with the secretary general for implementing UN reforms to make the Organisation more effective and responsive,” he said.

UN’s Resident Coordinator Knut Ostby in his speech highlighted the salient features of the UN Charter, which he said, began by underscoring the determination to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

He stressed the need for creating conditions conducive for peace and justice in order to promote social progress, and said the common goal remained to build a better world.

Later, the diplomats took a round of the photo exhibition organised at the venue, highlighting Pakistan’s contributions to different facets of UN’s work, including peacekeeping.