ADDS COMMENTS FROM WHITE HOUSE IN GRAFS 9-12
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday about the deteriorating situation in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.
“The Prime Minister (Khan) and the U.S. President Donald Trump had a detailed discussion on ongoing situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Prime Minister presented Pakistan’s stance to the U.S. president, and conveyed our concern over situation in Kashmir and recent steps [taken by India], which pose threat to the regional peace,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a televised statement.
Trump telephoned Khan minutes before the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) closed-door meeting on the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir region following India’s scrapping of decades-long special status on the disputed valley.
The two leaders, Qureshi said, agreed to “constantly” stay in contact over the matter.
He said Islamabad spoke to the heads and foreign ministers of four of five permanent UN Security Council members -- U.S, China, Russia and the U.K. -- to discuss the Kashmir situation. “They are familiar with Pakistan’s point of view.”
“Efforts are being made to get in contact with the French president on the issue,” he maintained.
Trump and Khan, according to Qureshi, also discussed the ongoing reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has taken step via-a-vis Afghan peace process. We were committed to the peace process yesterday and we are committed to that today as well,” Qureshi said.
Deputy White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the call was a follow up to Khan's visit to Washington last month.
“The President conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” Gidley said in a statement.
“The two leaders further discussed how they will continue to build on the growing relationship between the United States and Pakistan and the momentum created during their recent meeting at the White House.”
The White House did not release further details about the call.
Already mounting tensions between the nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have further flared up following the scrapping of the special status of picturesque Himalayan valley.
Kashmiri leaders and citizens fear this step is an attempt by the Indian government to change demography of the Muslim-majority state, where some groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
In related developments, Pakistan has also downgraded diplomatic relations with India, suspended trade and expelled the Indian high commissioners.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir, in addition to a three-week long Kargil skirmish in 1999.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.
* Umar Farooq contributed to this report from Washington