United Nations - Envoys from nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have traded barbs outside the United Nations Security Council chamber after members met behind closed doors for rare talks on the disputed region of Kashmir.

The meeting was called because Indian-administered Kashmir remained under military lockdown for a 12th straight day following the highly controversial decision by the Hindu nationalist government in New Delhi to revoke the special status accorded to the Muslim-majority state in India’s constitution.

The two countries have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. India is also fighting a three-decade rebellion in Jammu and Kashmir that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The 15-nation body heard briefings from Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the UN’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, and Carlos Humberto Loitey, the UN military adviser for peacekeeping operations. Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, said the council’s first meeting on Kashmir in more than 50 years was only a “first step” that Islamabad would take in support of the people of Kashmir.

Today, the whole world is discussing the occupied state and the situation there. The people of Jammu and Kashmir may be locked up, their voices may not be heard in their own homes and their own land, but their voices were heard at the United Nations and their voices will always be heard because Pakistan will always stand by them.

GHULAM BAHOO MAITLO,

Karachi.