PM Nawaz Sharif demands independent inquiry of Indian brutalities in Kashmir
UNITED NATIONS (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday demanded an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by Indian occupying forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) to punish those found guilty.
In a strong speech to the UN General Assembly, Nawaz Sharif called on the Security Council to urgently implement its resolutions calling for the exercise of right to self-determination by Kashmiri people to pave the way for peace and stability in South Asia.
Highlighting the gross human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, the Prime Minister said, "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; and abrogation of India's draconian `laws'."
At the same time, the Pakistani leader warned the international community against ignoring the dangers of the current Indo-Pakistan tensions, saying Pakistan will soon open consultations with the members of 15-nation Council to explore the modalities for implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.
In his wide ranging address, the prime minister also spoke about Pakistan's commitment to eliminate terrorism, the Afghan peace process, the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, disarmament, but he kept his focus on the situation in Kashmir. He was loudly applauded at the end of his 20-minute address.
"The people of Kashmir have waited 70 years for implementation of this promise (right to self-determination)," he said as he called for an end to Indian brutalities and oppression as well as curfews.
The prime minister also called for an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings in occupied Kashmir, and a UN fact-finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces.
"The Security Council must honour its commitments by implementing its own decisions," the prime minister said in his speech that centered on Kashmir.
"This General Assembly must demand that India deliver on the commitments its leaders solemnly made on many occasions," he said, while welcoming UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's offer of good offices to help resolve outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked following the recent attack on Indian troops in the Uri sector of occupied Kashmir amid a popular uprising by Kashmiri people for freedom with New Delhi's security forces using brutal methods to crush
In this regard, the prime minister called for steps by the United Nations to de-militarize Jammu and Kashmir and undertake consultations with India, Pakistan and the true representatives of the Kashmiri people to implement the resolutions of the Security Council.
"Peace and normalization between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute," he told world leaders present in the spacious hall of the General Assembly. "This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position."
The prime minister said, "Our predictions have now been confirmed by events. 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.
"This 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, he said, were 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."
These brutalities, the prime minister said, would not suppress the spirit of the Kashmiris, rather it would 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 said.
"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, I demand an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these
atrocities are punished," the Prime Minister said.
For its part, the prime minister told world leaders, Pakistan was committed to the establishment of strategic stability in the region and does not want an arms race with India, saying, "But we cannot ignore our neighbour's unprecedented arms build up and will take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence."
He 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."
"We are open to discussing all measures of restraint and responsibility with India, in any forum or format and without any condition."
Expressing Pakistan's readiness to agree on a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty, he went on to say, "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. "
As a responsible nuclear weapon state, he said, Pakistan will continue to cooperate with all international efforts that seek to promote fair and equitable solutions to disarmament and non-proliferation challenges.
"We have introduced 'state-of-the-art' measures to strengthen the safety and security of our nuclear materials and facilities.
We have adopted a comprehensive export control regime that is fully consistent with international standards," the prime minister said.
"Judged on the basis of objective criteria, and without discrimination, Pakistan is fully eligible for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group."
On terrorism, teh prime minister said Pakistan's priority goal of economic development requires internal peace and stability. "My country has been the principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad," he told the 193-member Assembly.
"We will not allow externally sponsored terrorism and threats of destabilization to cause turbulence in Pakistan," pointing out that tens of thousands of our citizens and thousands of our security personnel have been killed, or injured in terrorist attacks.
"This has only reinforced our resolve to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. Our comprehensive strategy of law enforcement and targeted military operations has produced remarkable results and enabled Pakistan to turn the tide against terrorism," he said.
Stating that Pakistan's Zarb-e-Azb Operation is the largest, most robust and most successful anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world, deploying 200,000 of our security forces, he said.
"Our comprehensive National Action Plan has the complete endorsement of our people and our Parliament as well as our security forces, all of whom have made heroic sacrifices to defeat terrorism."
Terrorism, he said, is now a global phenomenon, and the international community must coordinate its efforts to accomplish this. These efforts should be taken collectively and not unilaterally by the passage of any laws with extra-territorial application targeted against certain countries.
"We will not win the fight against terrorism and violent extremism so long as we do not address their root causes," he said. "These lie in poverty and ignorance, political and social injustice and oppression, foreign intervention and occupation and denial of the legitimate rights of peoples and nations, especially the right to self-determination.
"Until these underlying causes are addressed, it will be difficult to counter the twisted narrative of violent extremists and terrorists."
On Afghanistan, Prime minister Sharif said that Pakistan has long proposed intra-Afghan dialogue as the most viable course to end decades of conflict and suffering in Afghanistan.
"Based on this belief in a negotiated peace, and in response to requests from President Ashraf Ghani, we have been facilitating the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan," he said.
"There have been setbacks. That, however, is not a sufficient reason to abandon the path of peace and rely on the military option, which has failed, for the past decade and a half, to stabilize Afghanistan.
"Progress will be assured only when the Afghan parties themselves conclude that there is no military solution to the Afghan war, and work assiduously, through a meaningful dialogue process, for achieving reconciliation and peace at home."
About the three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the prime minister said he hoped to see them return to Afghanistan, voluntarily and with dignity.
"Until they do, the international community must shoulder its responsibilities to sustain them."
He said the United Nations remains an indispensable organization to restore order and ensure global peace, stability and prosperity. "Its principles remain the crucial
pillars of international legality, the guide for the conduct of Member States and the guarantor of the legitimate rights of all nations and peoples."
"To that end, it should become more representative, transparent and accountable," he said.
"A comprehensive and democratic reform of the Security Council, which Pakistan supports, should enhance its relevance and representation. Creating new centers of privilege will do the opposite. "
The prime minister said, "Pakistan has a vital stake in ending conflicts, fostering peace, fighting terrorism, strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, generating global growth and overcoming the challenges of environmental degradation.
We can achieve these goals, and create a new and peaceful world order, only through the United Nations and by strict adherence to the principles of its Charter."