Islamabad, Pakistan – India’s decision to host a meeting of Group of 20 (G20) countries in Srinagar, part of Indian-administered Kashmir, has been slammed by Pakistan, which called it an “irresponsible move”.
In a foreign ministry statement released on Tuesday, Pakistan expressed its “strong indignation” after the Indian government announced Srinagar as the venue for the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting scheduled to take place from May 22 to 24.
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“India’s irresponsible move is the latest in a series of self-serving measures to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir in sheer disregard of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and in violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. Pakistan vehemently condemns these moves,” the statement read.
“Such events cannot hide the reality of Jammu and Kashmir being an internationally recognized dispute that has remained on the agenda of United Nations Security Council for over seven decades,” the Pakistani statement added. “For a country that has a grandiose vision about itself, and its place in the world, India has once more demonstrated that it is unable to act as a responsible member of the international community.”
India took over the presidency of the G20, an economic cooperation bloc comprised of 19 countries and the European Union, in December of last year. It is scheduled to host a leader’s summit in New Delhi this September.
The Himalayan territory of Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since they gained independence from British rule in 1947. The two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars, two of which were over Kashmir, which both countries control parts of and which both claim in its entirety.
The Kashmir issue further flared up four years ago when India’s Hindu nationalist government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, revoked Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted Indian-administered Kashmir partial autonomy.
Pakistan’s former envoy to India, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, termed India’s decision to hold the event in Srinagar “highly inappropriate”.
“It is unbecoming of India to host an event in Srinagar which is in a disputed territory. It is very inappropriate, but the way things are, this issue is not taken up as seriously due to Indian importance,” Qazi told Al Jazeera.
He said it is “unfortunate” that the Western countries which claim to be champions of human rights choose to ignore India’s decision.
“They are ignoring the fact that India is playing host in Srinagar – and also did not invite China, which is a key member of G20, but it is also a major violator of human rights – as well as United Nations resolutions about this region.”