BY IFTIKHAR ALI
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 20 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammed Nawaz Sharif held talks with some key leaders and top level officials from around world that centred on the deteriorating situation in Indian-held Kashmir as he apprised them of Kashmiri people’s sufferings under occupation and their aspirations for freedom.
Briefing Pakistani journalists, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said the prime minister conveyed the voice and the feelings of oppressed Kashmiri people to US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Saudi Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Naid Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key during his meeting with them on the margins of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Monday.
He called the talks “productive”, saying the prime minister’s message about the urgent need to peacefully resolve the Kashmir dispute was getting through to the international community.
Replying to questions, the foreign secretary said the prime minister, during his interaction with world leaders, stayed focused on Kashmir, seeking justice for the Kashmiri people and for helping them achieve their U.N.-pledged right to self-determination. The prime minister also underscored the need for ending human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, and will highlight the issue in his address to the General Assembly on Wednesday.
Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, who was with the foreign secretary at the briefing, termed prime minister’s current visit as “Mission Kashmir”. She told reporters that Kashmir was on the agenda of the UN Security Council and the 15-member body was obligated to implement its resolutions on the dispute. In this regard, the prime minister had written to UN Secretary General and the President of the Security Council. In addition, the Pakistani leader had sent letters to the leaders of five permanent members of the Security Council—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States—seeking intervention to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
More than 100 people have died and thousands more injured in the latest series of protests and ongoing curfews in the Indian occupied territory over the past 74 days. A large number of youth have been blinded by the indiscriminate firing of pellet guns.
Asked whether the current spike in tensions following the attack in Uri sector of IOK would lead to a conflict, the foreign secretary said India should seriously consider resolving the Kashmir dispute and return to the path of dialogue instead of indulging in baseless allegations against Pakistan. But what India was actually doing was to try and deflect attention from the fast deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Kashmir since the death of Burhan Wani, the slain Kashmiri youth leader.
He deplored the fact that India chose to blame Pakistan for the incident even before conducting proper investigation.
India must understand that the situation in IOK is not of Pakistan’s making, but a direct consequence of illegal Indian occupation and a long history of atrocities.
On Monday, the Prime Minister urged the United States and Britain to help in resolving the crisis resulting from India’s use of brutal use of force in Kashmir.
With Saudi Deputy Prime Minister, the prime minister exchanged views on bilateral as well as regional issues of mutual concern, according to the foreign secretary.
Both countries, he said, agreed to continue to work together in dealing with the menace of terrorism and extremism. They also expressed the resolve to forge unity among the Muslim world at this moment when Muslims are confronted with numerous challenges worldwide.
On Wednesday, the prime minister will attend the opening session of the Assembly’s General Debate as well as attending formal luncheon hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in honour of the Heads of Delegation, number over 140. Later, he will meet the Prime Minister of Japan ,Shinzo Abe, and the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
He will also interact with the US President Barack Obama at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees being hosted by the US leader.