The UN chief on Sunday urged India to fully respect the human rights in Kashmir and stressed a dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the dispute.
Addressing a conference on climate change in the capital Islamabad, aired by state-run Pakistan Television, Antonio Guterres said he has always been advocating the need for an "enhanced dialogue" between India and Pakistan and for that he offered his good office more than once.
Recalling the UN Human Rights Commission reports on Kashmir, he said the two reports played “a very important role in clarifying the situation” in Indian-administered Kashmir.
“So our strong commitment is clear, human rights must be respected everywhere in the world, but also there," he added.
The UN chief remarks came some seven months into a lockdown on Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian-administered section of the disputed Kashmir region, a move widely decried by human rights groups as well as the global Islamic community.
In response to Guterres’ remarks, India’s External Ministry spokesman said in a statement that Jammu and Kashmir “will continue to be an integral part of India.”
“The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan. Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for third party mediation,” the spokesman said.
“We hope the UN Secretary General would emphasize on the imperative for Pakistan to take credible, sustained and irreversible action to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right - the right to life, of the people of India, including in J&K [Jammu and Kashmir]," he added.
Responding to a question regarding a dispute on water between Pakistan and India, the UN chief said there has been an agreement between the two countries and they should cooperate with each other.
Speaking about climate change in the world, the UN chief said the climate crisis is “perhaps the greatest current obstacle to global peace, stability and prosperity.”
"Peace, prosperity, dignity and realization of human rights for all people on a healthy planet. These are the objectives of the 2030 agenda," he said.
He urged the world to fulfill their commitments that were made in Paris to counter the climate challenges.
The Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries in April 2016, aims to fight climate change by reducing carbon emissions and limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Earlier, Guterres also met with a delegation of Afghan refugees in Islamabad.
"My first meeting in Pakistan: generations of Afghan refugees shared their deeply moving stories, hopes & dreams. For 40 years, Pakistan has sheltered Afghan refugees. I urge the world to support host countries and show similar leadership in standing #WithRefugees," the UN chief said on Twitter.
Guterres arrived in Pakistan on Sunday morning for a four-day visit to the country.
During his stay in Islamabad, he will deliver a keynote address at an international conference on Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
He will also meet with President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, according to a Foreign Ministry statement./aa