UNITED NATIONS -- Strongly rejecting Pakistan's call for plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, India has asserted that the state is an integral part of the country and its citizens have chosen a democratically-elected state government as it lambasted Islamabad for raising the issue at the UN.
"Pakistan must know that this is the platform of the Inter-Parliamentary Union where the 2030 development agenda is being discussed," Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told PTI.
She strongly rejected Pakistan raising the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the Fourth World Conference of Speakers yesterday, saying that the Pakistan representative's remarks on the issue in the UN are "totally irrelevant".
Raking up the Kashmir issue at yet another UN forum, Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Of Pakistan Murtaza Javed Abbasi had said in his speech that "it is time" to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination through an "independent and impartial plebiscite under the United Nations".
Mahajan said Jammu and Kashmir has been an integral part of India since independence and elections have been held in the state for the past many years.
"Pakistan should keep in mind that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have voted to elect their state government. What can be more democratic than this," she said, strongly rejecting Pakistan's call for a plebiscite.
She said Pakistan is trying to make an issue out of a non-issue by bringing up Jammu and Kashmir at every platform of the UN.
"They are ignoring the realities on the ground. This (Jammu and Kashmir) is not an issue for the UN. They are making a non-issue an issue but they will not get success," she said.
She further said that Pakistan is not focusing on the theme of the conference, which is development but bringing a bilateral issue into the forum.
"They are not focused on development. They are not thinking about their citizens and how development should take place in Pakistan. But instead every now and then they try to raise only one issue," Mahajan said.
In his speech, Abbasi had said that "outstanding disputes" continue to fester in South Asia preventing the region from realising its tremendous economic and social potential.
He had claimed "foremost among these disputes" is the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an "internationally recognised" disputed territory, underwritten by several United Nations resolutions.
"The Kashmiri people have waited for too long for their just and inalienable right to self-determination. Peace in South Asia is an imperative not only for the people of that region but also for the citizens of a globalised world," he had said.