Pakistan’s prime minister talks Kashmir, floods at UN

UNITED NATIONS — Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif appealed for a peaceable finish to the dispute over Kashmir and deplored regional instability, invoking the perennial themes of Pakistan’s U.N. addresses after dedicating the primary half of his speech Friday to the ravages of current floods.

The flood-induced devastation, which Sharif described in biblical phrases, means it’s incumbent on Pakistan to “ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of poverty and hunger,” he mentioned.

However so as to take action, Sharif mentioned, Pakistan wants a “stable external environment” — which means peace in South Asia, which he mentioned hinges on a decision of the decadeslong dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.

“At the heart of this longstanding dispute lies the denial of the inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination,” Sharif mentioned, outlining what he referred to as India’s “relentless campaign of repression” and “serial brutalization” of Kashmiris.

Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan and has been claimed by each since they gained independence from the British empire 75 years in the past.

Sharif accused India of its personal colonial ambitions by attempting to vary Kashmir’s demographics from majority Muslim to majority Hindu. Whereas he described Islamophobia as “a global phenomenon,” he particularly accused India’s Hindu nationalist authorities of participating in “the worst manifestation of Islamophobia.”

India — which has mentioned Kashmir is an inside matter and one in all legislation and order — is scheduled to talk on the Normal Meeting on Saturday. Rights teams have accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing get together of trying the opposite approach and generally enabling hate speech towards Muslims. Modi’s get together denies the accusations, however India’s Muslims say assaults towards them and their religion have elevated sharply.

The 2 South Asian nations lobbed barbs previous each other later within the night time, every invoking the appropriate of reply. An Indian diplomat shot again at Sharif by accusing the prime minister of looking for to “obfuscate misdeeds in his own country and to justify actions against India that the world considers unacceptable.”

Throughout his afternoon speech, Sharif additionally spoke at size about regional instability and terrorism — of which he referred to as Pakistan “the principal victim.”

He offered a marked distinction from his flashy but conservative predecessor, Imran Khan, who devoted a lot of final 12 months’s speech to accusing the USA of victimizing Pakistan. Khan was ousted in April after shedding a no-confidence vote.

Wearing a sober enterprise go well with as an alternative of Khan’s favored waistcoat-and-salwar-kameez mixture, Sharif didn’t as soon as point out the USA by identify.

He was impassioned, at instances vigorously tapping the podium or demonstratively bringing his fists collectively, however his phrases struck a much less combative tone.

“Pakistan is a partner for peace,” Sharif mentioned earlier than departing from ready remarks: “But Mr. President, peace can only be ensured and guaranteed when the rights of communities who have been suffering over decades, and subjugated over decades, earn their freedom and are respected.”

Sharif’s speech additionally represented a departure from final 12 months, when Khan expressed optimism in regards to the then-incipient Taliban rule in Afghanistan and exhorted the Normal Meeting to not isolate the brand new authorities. A 12 months later, no U.N. member state has acknowledged the Taliban authorities.

“Pakistan would also like to see an Afghanistan which is at peace with itself and the world, and which respects and nurtures all its citizens, without regard to gender, ethnicity and religion,” he mentioned, avoiding direct point out of its present authorities.

Above all, he echoed a concern widespread to international locations who sometimes don’t dominate the worldwide discourse: “My real worry is about the next stage of this challenge, when the cameras would have gone or left this august assembly and the story just shifts away to conflicts like Ukraine,” he mentioned of the flooding restoration. “My question is, will we be left alone, high and dry?”

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