Sustainable peace, stability in SA depends on resolution of Kashmir dispute: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday said Pakistan desired peace with all its neighbours including India, however, sustainable peace and stability in South Asia remained contingent upon a just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said, “at the heart of this longstanding dispute lies the denial of the inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination. India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019, to change the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory further undermined the prospects of peace and inflamed regional tensions,” he remarked.

He said India’s ruthless campaign of repression against Kashmiris had continued to grow in scale and intensity. In pursuit of this heinous goal, New Delhi has ramped up its military deployments in occupied Jammu and Kashmir to 900,000 troops, thus making it the most militarized zone in the world.

“The serial brutalization of Kashmiris takes many forms: extrajudicial killings, incarceration, custodial torture and death, indiscriminate use of force, deliberate targeting of Kashmiri youth with pellet guns, and ‘collective punishments’ imposed on entire communities,” the prime minister told the General Assembly.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said India was seeking to turn the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir into a Hindu-majority territory, through illegal demographic changes.

“Millions of fake domicile certificates have been issued to non-Kashmiris; Kashmiri land and properties are being seized; electoral districts have been gerrymandered; and over 2.5 million non-Kashmiri illegal voters fraudulently registered. All this is in blatant violation of Security Council resolutions and international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention,” he told the 193-member world body.

He said Pakistani people have always stood by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in complete solidarity, and would continue to do so until their right to self-determination is fully realized in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The prime minister assured the world that Pakistan remained consistent in its commitment to peace in South Asia.

“We are neighbours and we are there forever. The choice is ours whether we live in peace or keep on fighting with each other. We have had three wars from 1947 onwards and as a consequence only miseries, poverty and unemployment increased on both sides.”

“It is now up to us to resolve our differences, our problems, our issues, like peaceful neighours through negotiations and discussions and save our scarce resources for providing education, health and employment to millions of people, on both sides of the divide.”

He stressed that the two nations should not waste resources on buying more ammunition and increasing tensions in the region.

“It is high time that India understands the message loud and clear. Both countries are armed to the teeth and war is not an option.”

“Only peaceful dialogue can resolve these issues so that the world becomes more peaceful in the times to come,” he observed.

“India must take credible steps to create enabling environment for constructive engagement. It should demonstrate its sincerity and willingness, to walk the path of peace and dialogue by reversing its illegal steps of 15 August 2019, and ending forth-with, the process of demographic change,” he remarked and expressed the hope that the UNGA and Secretary-General would play their rightful role in urging India to implement the long pending UN resolutions.

The prime minister said, “Pakistan is a partner for peace. We want to have long lasting and enduring peace with India. Peace can only be ensured and guaranteed through just and fair resolution of the Kashmir issue, by providing rights to the people of Kashmir, under UN charter and according to the Security Council resolutions and the right of self-determination.”

“I will be most forthcoming and then sit down and talk to my Indian counterpart and pave the way forward for future so that our future generations do not suffer and we spend our resources on mitigating miseries”

“We are developing societies and we do not have unlimited resources. We must deploy our resources for the well-being of the people, our children and for their empowerment, employment, health and education.”