In a much-awaited address to the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday urged the world body to de-militarise Jammu and Kashmir and undertake consultations with all stakeholders in the Kashmir dispute – India, Pakistan and the true representatives of the Kashmiri people – in order to implement the resolutions of the Security Council.
“In this context, we welcome the offer of good offices by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We will also open consultations with members of the Security Council to explore the modalities for implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir,” said the prime minister while addressing the audiences at the General Debate of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Talking about peace efforts launched by Pakistan with India, Prime Minister said confrontation should not be our destiny in South Asia.
“Pakistan wants peace with India. I have gone the extra mile to achieve this, repeatedly offering a dialogue to address all outstanding issues. But India has posed 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,” he asserted.
“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,” he added.
The premier declared without mincing words that peace and normalisation between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position, he asserted.
He said Pakistan fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination, as promised to them by several Security Council resolutions. Their struggle is a legitimate one for liberation from alien occupation, he added.
“The international law and the declarations of the United Nations on Self-Determination, give the Kashmiri people the right to struggle for their freedom. Every year, the General Assembly unanimously adopts the resolution, which reaffirms ‘the right of all peoples to self-determination’ and calls on the states concerned to immediately end their occupation and ‘all acts of repression’,” he said.
The premier also demanded an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings and a UN fact-finding mission to go into occupied Kashmir and investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished.
“On behalf of the Kashmiri people; on behalf of the mothers, wives, sisters, and fathers of the innocent Kashmiri children, women and men who have been killed, blinded and injured; on behalf of the Pakistani nation ….. we demand the immediate release of all Kashmiri political prisoners; an end to the curfew; freedom for the Kashmiris to demonstrate peacefully; urgent medical help for the injured; abrogation of India’s draconian ‘laws’; and removal of the foreign travel ban on Kashmiri leaders,” he added. Reiterating the self-determination right for Kashmiri people, Nawaz 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. The Security Council must honour its commitments by implementing its own decisions. This General Assembly must demand that India delivers on the commitments its leaders solemnly made on many occasions,” he added.
Referring to the new wave of uprising in Kashmir, the prime minister said our predictions have now been confirmed by events as a new generation of Kashmiris has risen spontaneously against India’s illegal occupation – demanding freedom from occupation.
“Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement, led by Kashmiris, young and old, men and women, armed only with an undying faith in the legitimacy of their cause, and a hunger for freedom in their hearts,” said the prime minister.
Nawaz Sharif regretted that the indigenous uprising of the Kashmiris has been met, as usual, with brutal repression by India’s occupation force of over half a million soldiers.
“Over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds, including children and infants, blinded by shotgun pellets and over six thousand unarmed civilians injured over the past two months.
These Indian brutalities are well documented. I would like to inform the General Assembly that Pakistan will share with the Secretary General a dossier containing detailed information and evidence of the gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by Indian forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he maintained.
However, Nawaz Sharif made it clear that these brutalities by Indian forces will not suppress the spirit of the Kashmiris; it will only intensify their anger and fortify their determination to see India end its occupation of Kashmir. From Srinagar to Sopore, the men, women and children come out each day, defying curfew, to demand freedom, he added.