NEW YORK - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that nobody should take offense at his remarks about Kashmir in his address to the UN General Assembly, as he stated ‘facts’ about the issue.
Commenting on a statement of Indian Premier Manmohan Singh after the latter’s meeting with US President Barack Obama, Nawaz said: “It seems Singh, like a rural woman, has lodged complaints against me.”
In an interview to a private TV channel on Saturday, Nawaz Sharif said his statement on the Kashmir issue was based on historical facts and stressed that the United Nations should honour its own resolutions.
“What I have said is a truth. I have tried to remind the United Nations that it should implement the resolutions passed by the Security Council,” the prime minister said, referring to UNGA his speech. “India should not forget that the facts I stated in my address about Kashmir were correct,” he added.
Premier Sharif in his address had said “the United Nations must continue to remain attentive to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and implement its resolutions on Kashmiris’ right to self-determination”. He had also stressed that the money spent on buying weapons for wars should be allocated for the welfare of peoples of Pakistan and India.
However, the prime minister in his Saturday’s remarks said he will try to bridge the distances with India during his upcoming meeting with his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York, making it clear he was committed to taking forward the stalled peace process between the two nuclear neighbours.
Separately, addressing a gathering of Pakistani-Americans at a reception hosted in his honour by the Consulate General of Pakistan in New York, PM Sharif stressed that all outstanding issues with India could be resolved through dialogue and peace in the region would be achieved when there is peace in Afghanistan.
But he declared Pakistan will neither allow any country to meddle in its internal affairs nor it will interfere in internal affairs of other countries, especially neighbouring India and Afghanistan. “India and Afghanistan should not interfere in our internal matters and we should not interfere in theirs,” he remarked.
Premier Nawaz also said Pakistan and India should end arms race and divert billions of dollars for the betterment of their poverty stricken people. The two countries, he said, must keep the size of their defence budgets as per their resources and their economic capacity. Had the countries kept peace process alive, it would have greatly benefited not only their own people but the whole region.
The prime minister said US drone strikes on Pakistani soil were in violation of country’s sovereignty and they are counterproductive. He said the drones issue would be raised during his meeting with US President Barack Obama on October 23. He said he had raised this issue during his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and told him that these strikes were unacceptable.
Nawaz said his government was determined to improve the law and order situation in the country and curb terrorism. “We will hold dialogue with the militants on priority basis as improved security environment will help bring investment in the country and bolster growth,” he stated. The PM said terrorism surfaced in Pakistan after 9/11 and has affected the country deeply. He said the blast at a Christian church in Peshawar was an attack against humanity. He also vowed to return peace in Karachi, the economic hub of the country, at every cost and no political pressure would be accepted.
The prime minister said that Pakistan was facing a serious energy crisis, alleging the crisis was the ‘creation of a dictator’. He said more loans were obtained in the past five years of PPP-led government than in the previous sixty years of Pakistan’s history.
However, he said his government is determined to lift the country out of morass it finds itself in after years of neglect and mismanagement and they would bring the hard-working Pakistanis the much-deserved economic progress.
Nawaz assured that through far sighted policies he would change the destiny of the country and secure a respectable place for it in the world. He said they have drawn an elaborate plan to step up development through a series of projects of infrastructure, energy, education and intra-regional connectivity.