Pakistan to oppose withdrawal of UNMOGIP
1 May 2005
The News International
Islamabad: Pakistan has made it clear that the United Nations observers cannot be removed from disputed Kashmir as long the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is not resolved. Foreign Office spokesman Jaleel Abbas Jilani, while commenting on remarks attributed to UN Secretary General Kufi Annan in New Delhi, said the mandate of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was given by the world body and the dispute for which observers were appointed does exist. In the circumstances any proposal for the removal of the group would be out of place. The Indian media quoted Annan as saying that withdrawal of the observers may be reviewed with a move forward on the peace process. Talking exclusively to The News here, Jilani said Pakistan would like to have the original text of the observation made by the UN secretary general before offering any comment in a final shape but it must remain clear that Islamabad would never agree to any proposal that suggest removal of the UNMOGIP without final settlement of the dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of the disputed area. The UN has deputed about 44 observers on both sides of divided Kashmir to monitor troops activities as a consequence of UN Security Council resolution. The UNMOGIP has offices in Srinagar and Rawalpindi but India does not permit them to move around the Line of Control (LoC) on its occupied side while Pakistan is fully cooperating with the Group. The Group maintains its symbolic presence in Indian-held Kashmir. To a question, the spokesman said Pakistan has no plan to take up the matter with the world body with reference to the comments attributed to Kofi Annan, who is a seasoned diplomat.