Srinagar: China and Turkey are unlikely to attend the controversial G20 meeting on tourism in Srinagar in a move that would be seen as some diplomatic victory for Pakistan, which is opposing Indian attempts to portray the normalcy in the disputed region.
India, the current president of G20, is set to host the meeting on tourism from May 22 to May 24. It is going to be the first major global event in the disputed region particularly after India unilaterally revoked the special status of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in August 2019.
G-20 comprises rich nations plus the European Union. The intergovernmental bloc accounts for 80 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Countries which have close ties with Pakistan are part of the grouping. Those include China, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Since India decided to host the tourism meeting in Srinagar, Pakistan launched a diplomatic offensive to counter the New Delhi’s move. Pakistan’s efforts have achieved partial success as China and Turkey are believed to be not sending their delegates to the Srinagar meeting, according to official sources.
Pakistan is hoping that Saudi Arabia and Indonesia may follow suit. Similarly, other countries given the sensitivity of the issue are only sending their diplomats based in New Delhi to the event.
There has been no official confirmation from the foreign office.
However, Pakistan’s former ambassador to India Abdul Basit said his sources confirmed that China and Turkey would stay away from the G20 meeting in Srinagar.
“My sources tell me China and Turkey are not attending G20 meeting in Srinagar. Almost all other countries are sending their Delhi-based diplomats to the meeting. I expect Saudi Arabia and Indonesia to also show solidarity with Kashmiris,” Basit wrote in a tweet.
While Indian government is trying to show all is well in the disputed territory, independent experts believe that this can’t brush the issue under the carpet.
Fernand de Varennes, the United Nations special rapporteur on minority issues, on Monday issued a statement accusing India of seeking to normalise the “brutal and repressive denial of democratic and other rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities” by holding a G20 meeting in the disputed region.
He said the situation in Kashmir “should be decried and condemned and not pushed under the rug and ignored”.
“The government of India is seeking to normalise what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval’,” Varennes said in the statement shared on Twitter.
The UN expert said “massive human rights violations” have been reported in Kashmir since it came under New Delhi’s direct rule. “These included torture, extrajudicial killings, denial of political participation rights of Kashmiri Muslims and minorities,” he said.
“The G20 is unwittingly providing a veneer of support to the façade of normalcy at a time when massive human rights violations, illegal and arbitrary arrests, political persecution, restrictions, and even suppression of free media and human rights defenders continue to escalate,” he added.
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