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Nawaz Sharif Rakes Up Kashmir Kashmir Issue at UNGA

Raking up Kashmir at the U.N., 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.

Mr. 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 normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, Mr. 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.

Mr. Sharif said the United Nations must honour its own commitments on Kashmir.

Addressing the General Assembly, Mr. 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.

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