LONDON: Describing Kashmir as a ‘core issue’ between Pakistan and India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday urged the need for early resolution of the longstanding dispute between the hyphenated but hostile neighbours.
“Kashmir is a core issue, which must be resolved. And in my view the sooner the two countries [Pakistan and India] start working on it, the better it would be for them,” he said, while talking to journalists in London. The prime minister arrived in UK’s capital en route to the United States, where he will attend UN General Assembly’s 70th session.
The premier said the issue of Kashmir should be discussed at all levels and forums. “This issue should be discussed not only at international forums, but also at Pakistan-India bilateral forums,” he added.
Talking with reference to Afghanistan, he said Pakistan had engaged its western neighbour to ensure peace in the region. “The two countries have agreed not to allow their soils to be used again each other and Pakistan is strictly abiding by this commitment.”
The prime minister also referred to a recent telephone call by Ashraf Ghani and said the Afghan president condemned the recent attack on the PAF base in Peshawar and expressed his condolences over the loss of precious lives.
He said Pakistan has adopted a mature policy and is handling its affairs wisely to ensure peace and stability in the region. “Pakistan and Afghanistan after the election of President Ghani have made a new beginning to ensure peace in the region as the Afghan president visited Pakistan and I visited Kabul.”
The prime minister said the two countries decided to fight and eliminate the menace of terrorism from the region though enhanced cooperation and coordination, which, he said, would not only benefit the region but the whole world. He said the ongoing military operation in tribal areas was heading towards success.
Nawaz Sharif said as the heads of government and state attend the UN General Assembly session, the leaders not only talk of the international issues but also focus on resolution of regional conflicts. “Certainly, the issue of Kashmir would be discussed at every forum,” he added.
Talking with reference to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, he said a huge investment was pouring into Pakistan through this project. “The present government has initiated a number of power generation projects, giving hope to the people that they will get enough electricity by the next two to three years,” he added.
The prime minister will lead the Pakistan delegation to the UNGA’s 70th session in New York from September 25 and will address the general debate of the General Assembly on September 30.
“He will articulate the government’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood and economic development, and share with the world community, Pakistan’s position and priorities on key international and regional issues,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2015.