Pak PM Sharif rakes up Kashmir in UN; meet with Modi unlikely

27 September 2014

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it clear on Friday that his country will not give up the Kashmir issue in pursuit of better relations with India.

In a cogent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Sharif demanded a long-deferred plebiscite in J&K, and an end to human rights abuses in the state. Cleverly for an international audience, he stressed the plight of women in the state.

He blamed India for "another missed opportunity" to address outstanding issues by cancelling the foreign secretary-level talks.

Asserting that a "veil" cannot be drawn over the "core" issue of Kashmir, he said Pakistan is ready to work for resolution of this problem through negotiations.

"Our support and advocacy of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir is our historic commitment and a duty, as a party to the Kashmir dispute," he said.

"Many generations of Kashmiris have lived their lives under occupation, accompanied by violence and abuse of their fundamental rights. Kashmiri women, in particular, have undergone immense suffering and humiliation," he said.

For decades, attempts have been made, both under UN auspices and bilaterally in the spirit of the Lahore Declaration, to resolve this dispute, but it still festers, he said.

India had called off the foreign secretary-level talks in August after Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi, ignoring India's warning not to meet the separatists.

Both India and Pakistan have separately stated that there is no meeting planned between Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the margins of the UN session.

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