Pakistan delegation congratulates you and other members of the Bureau on assumption of office. I am sure we all will benefit from your experience and sagacity.
We are also grateful to your predecessor and the outgoing bureau.
Let me also thank the Chairman of the Special Committee on Decolonization, its Vice Chairs and the Rapporteur for its important work.
Pakistan appreciates the contribution and efforts that the Special Committee continues to make in order to fulfill the unfinished agenda of de-colonization in accordance with the Charter and relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Accordingly, we support the recommendations contained in its Report A/68/23.
De-colonization has been one of the major achievements of the United Nations. The process, however, is far from completed. Additionally, it is an unfinished agenda of the 2005 World Summit Outcome as well. We must therefore redouble our efforts for complete eradication of colonialism.
Colonialism in any form or manifestation is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are now well into the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020). Yet its end is not in sight. It persists not because of dearth of resolutions or decisions but due to an obvious lack of political will to implement them.
While requiring concerted action by all stakeholders, the primary onus for decolonization falls on Administrating Powers - the principal cause of perpetuation of status quo. They must show the political will to engage positively with their respective territories on all issues of governance.
The United Nations system should focus on special needs of the Territories and the assistance that it can provide through specialized agencies and international institutions. The UN system should also keep peoples of these Territories cognizant of options available to them with regard to self-determination.
More than five decades ago, the General Assembly declared that “subjection of people to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental rights, is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and is an impediment to the promotion of world peace and cooperation” . This is still valid today. The threat it poses to international peace and security is manifested in situations around the world characterized by colonialism, illegal occupation, and alien subjugation of peoples.
All peoples have the right to self-determination. The General Assembly has reaffirmed, year after year, that, in the process of decolonization, there is no alternative to the principle of self-determination - a fundamental human right. Decolonization and the right to self-determination are objectives of such importance, scope and global relevance, that they cannot be limited to Non-Self Governing Territories alone. Their application is universal.
In South Asia, the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is recognized by a number of Security Council Resolutions. Pakistan is committed to finding a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, acceptable to all sides, especially the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The decolonization agenda of the United Nations would be incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during the General Debate of the 68th UNGA, said, and I quote:
“As in the past, Pakistan calls upon the international community to give an opportunity to the Kashmiris to decide their future peacefully, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was presented to the Security Council in January 1948; and yet the issue remains unresolved after nearly seven decades.
The United Nations must continue to remain attentive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and the full realization of the right to self-determination of its people. The suffering of the people cannot be brushed under the carpet because of power politics.”
Pakistan continues to support the just struggle of the Palestinian people for peace and freedom as well as their quest for full UN Membership for the State of Palestine. A strong and viable state of Palestine, established according to the wishes and aspirations of the Palestinian people and in accordance with the internationally agreed parameters, is the best guarantor of peace.
Pakistan is also supportive of a just and mutually acceptable settlement of the issue of Western Sahara. Such a settlement would be a boost for the efforts for regional peace and progress. We sincerely hope that the parties will continue negotiations in good faith, with realism and a spirit of compromise, for achieving a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution that provides for self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, in accordance with Security Council resolutions.