NEW YORK (PTI) Raking up Kashmir at the United Nations, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday glorified slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani as a “young leader” even as he expressed readiness for a “serious and sustained dialogue” with India for peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir.
Sharif devoted much of his 20-minute speech at the U.N. General Assembly session to Kashmir and the current situation in the Valley and said Pakistan “fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination.”
He demanded an “independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings” and a U.N. fact-finding mission to Kashmir “so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished.”
Insisting that peace and normalization between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, Sharif said “Indian brutalities [in Kashmir] are well documented” and that Pakistan would share with the Secretary General evidence of “violations of human rights” in J&K.
Sharif said the United Nations must honor its own commitments on Kashmir.
Addressing the General Assembly, Sharif said: “The Security Council has called for the exercise of the right to self-determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite held under UN auspices. The people of Kashmir have waited 70 years for implementation of this promise,” he said.
Mr. Sharif, who spoke amid heightening tensions between India and Pakistan, insisted that his country wants peace with the neighbour as “confrontation should not be our destiny in South Asia.”
The Pakistan Prime Minister claimed that he had “gone the extra mile to achieve this, repeatedly offering a dialogue to address all outstanding issues but India has imposed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue.
“Let us be clear: talks are no favour to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and to avert the danger of any escalation.”
While insisting that peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, he said, “This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position.”
“Today, from this rostrum, I would also like to reiterate our offer to India to enter into a serious and sustained dialogue for the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr. Sharif said.
‘Open to discussions’
He also said that Pakistan was “open to discussing all measures of restraint and responsibility with India, in any forum or format and without any conditions.”
Pakistan is “ready for talks to agree on a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty,” he added.
Claiming that Pakistan “neither wants, nor is engaged in an arms race with India”, Mr. Sharif said, “We have consistently urged the conclusion of bilateral arms control and disarmament measures between Pakistan and India to prevent conflict and avoid wasteful military expenditures.”
India hits back
India on Thursday called Pakistan a “terrorist state” and accused it of carrying out “war crimes” against Indians through its “long-standing policy” of sponsoring terrorism, hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raked up Kashmir issue at the U.N. General Assembly session.
In a strong rebuttal, India said the terrorists designated by the U.N. continued to roam Pakistan’s streets freely and operate with state support.
Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Mr. Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the U.N. Eenam Gambhir said “the worst violation of human rights is terrorism.”
“When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime. What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she said.
India hit back at Sharif’s speech at the UNGA saying “India’s only condition is an end to terrorism. This not acceptable (to Pakistan)?”
“PM Sharif at #UNGA says India poses unacceptable conditions to dialogue. India’s only condition is an end to terrorism. This not acceptable?” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
“Pak PM Sharif at #UNGA glorifies Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani in UN’s highest forum. Shows continued Pak attachment to terrorism.”
“Pak PM Sharif at #UNGA in complete denial of Uri terror attack. 19 infiltration attempts stopped at LoC this year. Indigenous??!!” Swarup said in another tweet.