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New Pak PM mentions Kashmir 14 times, India 17 times in UN speech

Last updated on: September 22, 2017 11:46 IST

'If India does venture across the LoC, it will evoke a strong response.'

IMAGE: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 21, 2017. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Like Nawaz Sharif, the man he replaced, Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi too urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy on Kashmir, as he claimed that the people in the region are being 'brutally suppressed' by India.

In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, Abbasi accused India of indulging in terror activities against his country and warned of a 'matching response' if it "ventures across the LoC (Line of Control)' or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan.

 

"The Kashmir dispute should be resolved justly, peacefully and expeditiously. As India is unwilling to resume the peace process with Pakistan, we call on the Security Council to fulfil its obligation to secure the implementation of its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

"To this end, the UN secretary general should appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. His mandate should flow from the longstanding but unimplemented resolutions of the Security Council," Abbasi said.

Despite over 600 ceasefire violations on the India-Pakistan border since January, he claimed Pakistan has acted with restraint.

"But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response," he said in a speech highlighted by anti-India rhetoric.

Abbasi, who assumed office after a Pakistan court forced Nawaz Sharif to resign, mentioned Kashmir 17 times and India 14 times in his speech.

"India," he said, "refuses to implement the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council which mandate a UN supervised plebiscite to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to freely decide their destiny."

"Instead, India has deployed nearly 700,000 troops in 'occupied Kashmir' to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination. This is the most intense foreign military occupation in recent history," Abbasi said.

"Shotgun pellets have blinded and maimed thousands of Kashmiris including children. These and other brutalities clearly constitute war crimes and violate the Geneva Convention," he charged.

Abbasi demanded an international investigation into the alleged atrocities in Kashmir and an inquiry commission to secure the punishment of those 'responsible of human rights violation' and provide justice and relief to victims.

Then, he added that Pakistan remains open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir and discuss measures to maintain peace and security in the region.

"This dialogue," Abbasi said, "must be accompanied by an end to India's campaign of subversion and State sponsored terrorism against Pakistan."

'No Taliban safe havens in Pakistan'

Abbasi also said that Pakistan cannot be a 'scapegoat' in Afghanistan war and will not endorse any 'failed strategy' that will prolong suffering of the people in the region, a month after US President Donald Trump warned Islamabad against providing safe havens to terrorists.

"Having suffered and sacrificed so much due to our role in the global counter terrorism campaign it is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” Abbasi said in his address.

"We are not prepared to be anyone's scapegoat. Taliban 'safe havens' are located not in Pakistan but in the large tracts of territory controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” he said.

"Yes, cross border attacks do occur. These are mostly conducted by anti-Pakistan terrorists from 'safe havens' across the border. To end all cross border attacks we ask the Afghanistan government and the Coalition to support and complement Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen border controls and monitor all movement across it," Abbasi said.

However, he said that what Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghanistan war on Pakistan's soil.

"Nor can it endorse any failed strategy that will prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and other regional countries," Abbasi said in an apparent rebuttal of Trump's new South Asia policy.

Trump in his new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia announced on August 21 warned Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so.

Trump had also asked India to play a greater role in war-torn Afghanistan, much to the dislike of Pakistan.

Abbasi called for a priority on eliminating extremists, including from the militant Islamic State (IS) group and Al Qaeda, in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan believes that the urgent and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be: One, concerted action to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, Al Qaeda and their affiliates including the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which was recently declared a terrorist organisation by the UN Security Council.

"Two, promote negotiations between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban -- in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) or any trilateral format -- to evolve a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. These two steps offer the most realistic prospect of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan and our region," he said.

Abbasi said apart from the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and its people have suffered the most from four decades of foreign intervention and civil wars in Afghanistan.

"These wars have blighted our country with the flow of extremists and terrorists, guns and drugs as well as an influx of millions of refugees. They have set back our economic development by decades. Even today, Pakistan is host to over 3 million Afghan refugees. No one desires peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan,” he said.

He said that from 16 years of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, it is clear that peace will not be restored by the continuing resort to military force.

"Neither Kabul and the Coalition, nor the Afghan Taliban, can impose a military solution on each other. The international community -- as expressed in several United Nations resolutions -- has concluded that peace can be restored in Afghanistan only through a negotiated settlement,” he said.

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