ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Saturday that it rejects India's attempt to hold a meeting of G20 countries in Kashmir, hoping that members of the grouping will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would oppose the proposal outright.
Jammu and Kashmir will be hosting the 2023 meetings of G-20, an influential grouping that brings together the world's major economies, with the union territory administration on Thursday setting up a five-member high-level committee for overall coordination.
This will be the first major international summit to be held in J&K after its special status guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn and the erstwhile state was divided into two union territories in August 2019.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement that Islamabad had taken note of news items appearing in the Indian media indicating that India might be "contemplating to hold some G20-related meeting in Jammu and Kashmir". "Pakistan completely rejects any such attempt by India," Ahmad said.
He said it was a well-known fact that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised disputed territory between Pakistan and India, and has remained on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.
"Contemplating the holding of any G20-related meeting/event in JK, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged 'disputed' status of the territory, is a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances," the spokesperson said.
He hoped that in case of any such controversial proposal from India, the G20 members will be fully cognisant of the imperatives of law and justice and would reject it outright. Ahmad said that Pakistan also strongly urges the international community to call upon India to revoke its actions of August 5, 2019, and free all political prisoners.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
Pakistan also halted bilateral trade with India. India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir "was, is and shall forever" remain an integral part of the country. India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.