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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 “guarantee fast financial progress and raise tens of millions out of poverty and starvation,” he mentioned.

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

“On the coronary heart of this longstanding dispute lies the denial of the inalienable proper of the Kashmiri individuals to self-determination,” Sharif mentioned, outlining what he referred to as India’s “relentless marketing 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 making an attempt to alter Kashmir’s demographics from majority Muslim to majority Hindu. Whereas he described Islamophobia as “a worldwide phenomenon,” he particularly accused India’s Hindu nationalist authorities of partaking in “the worst manifestation of Islamophobia.”

India — which has mentioned Kashmir is an inner matter and one in all regulation and order — is scheduled to talk on the Common Meeting on Saturday. Rights teams have accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing celebration of trying the opposite means and generally enabling hate speech towards Muslims. Modi’s celebration 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 fitting of reply. An Indian diplomat shot again at Sharif by accusing the prime minister of searching for to “obfuscate misdeeds in his personal nation and to justify actions towards 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 sufferer.”

He introduced 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 title.

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

“Pakistan is a companion for peace,” Sharif mentioned earlier than departing from ready remarks: “However Mr. President, peace can solely be ensured and assured when the rights of communities who’ve been struggling over a long time, and subjugated over a long time, earn their freedom and are revered.”

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

“Pakistan would additionally wish to see an Afghanistan which is at peace with itself and the world, and which respects and nurtures all its residents, with out regard to gender, ethnicity and faith,” he mentioned, avoiding direct point out of its present authorities.

Above all, he echoed a concern frequent to international locations who usually don’t dominate the worldwide discourse: “My actual fear is concerning the subsequent stage of this problem, when the cameras would have gone or left this august meeting and the story simply shifts away to conflicts like Ukraine,” he mentioned of the flooding restoration. “My query is, will we be left alone, excessive and dry?”

For extra AP protection of the U.N. Common Meeting, go to



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