Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses the 71st UNGA session in New York on September 21, 2016 | Photo: PML-N

SRINAGAR: Pakistan Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, raised the ongoing two-month-long anti-India uprising in Kashmir valley, in his speech at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in the New York city on Wednesday.

Sharif’s nearly 20-minute-long speech revolved around Pakistan’s commitment to end terrorism, work for peace in the Indian sub-continent and resolve all pending conflicts with neighbouring India, including the seven-decade-long Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Here are the key points he raised concerning the Kashmir conflict:

Addressing root causes necessary for peace

“Peace and normalization between Pakistan and India cannot be achieved without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position.”

“We will not win the fight against terrorism and violent extremism so long as we do not address their root causes. These lie in poverty and ignorance, political and social injustice and oppression, foreign intervention and occupation and denial of the legitimate rights of peoples and nations, especially the right to self-determination. Until these underlying causes are addressed, it will be difficult to counter the twisted narrative of violent extremists and terrorists.”

Dialogue, not confrontation, is the resolve

Confrontation should not be our destiny in South Asia. Pakistan wants peace with India. I have gone the extra mile to achieve this, repeatedly offering a dialogue to address all outstanding issues.

“But India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue. Let us be clear: talks are no favour to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and to avert the danger of any escalation.”

“Today, from this rostrum, I would also like to reiterate our offer to India to enter into a serious and sustained dialogue for the peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir.”

“We are open to discussing all measures of restraint and responsibility with India, in any forum or format and without any conditions.”

Kashmir’s indigenous uprising

“Our predictions have now been confirmed by events. A new generation of Kashmiris has risen spontaneously against India’s illegal occupation – demanding freedom from occupation.”

“This indigenous uprising of the Kashmiris has been met, as usual, with brutal repression by India’s occupation force of over half a million soldiers. Over a hundred Kashmiris have been killed, hundreds, including children and infants, blinded by shotgun pellets and over six thousand unarmed civilians injured over the past two months.”

“These Indian brutalities are well documented. I would like to inform the General Assembly that Pakistan will share with the Secretary General a dossier containing detailed information and evidence of the gross and systematic violations of human rights committed by Indian forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”

Burhan Wani young leader, murdered by Indian forces

“Burhan Wani, the young leader murdered by Indian forces, has emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri Intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement, led by Kashmiris, young and old, men and women, armed only with an undying faith in the legitimacy of their cause, and a hunger for freedom in their hearts.”

Brutalities intensity anger

“These brutalities will not suppress the spirit of the Kashmiris; it will only intensify their anger and fortify their determination to see India end its occupation of Kashmir. From Srinagar to Sopore, the men, women and children come out each day, defying curfew, to demand freedom.”

Kashmiris’ right to self-determination

“Pakistan fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination, as promised to them by several Security Council resolutions. Their struggle is a legitimate one for liberation from alien occupation.”

“International law and the declarations of the United Nations on Self Determination, give the Kashmiri people the right to struggle for their freedom. Every year, the General Assembly unanimously adopts the resolution, which reaffirms “the right of all people’s to self-determination” and calls on the states concerned to immediately end their occupation and “all acts of repression.”

“The Security Council has called for the exercise of the right to self- determination by the people of Jammu and Kashmir through a free and fair plebiscite held under UN auspices. The people of Kashmir have waited 70 years for implementation of this promise. The Security Council must honour its commitments by implementing its own decisions. This General Assembly must demand that India deliver on the commitments its leaders solemnly made on many occasions.”

“To this end, steps should be taken by the United Nations to de-militarize Jammu and Kashmir and undertake consultations with India, Pakistan and the true representatives of the Kashmiri people to implement the resolutions of the Security Council. In this context, we welcome the offer of good offices by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We will also open consultations with members of the Security Council to explore the modalities for implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Kashmir.”

Independent inquiry

“On behalf of the Kashmiri people; on behalf of the mothers, wives, sisters, and fathers of the innocent Kashmiri children, women and men who have been killed, blinded and injured; on behalf of the Pakistani nation, I demand an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings, and a UN fact finding mission to investigate brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces, so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished.”

Release prisoners, allow demonstrations, abrogate draconian laws

“We demand the immediate release of all Kashmiri political prisoners; an end to the curfew; freedom for the Kashmiris to demonstrate peacefully; urgent medical help for the injured; abrogation of India’s draconian ‘laws’; and removal of the foreign travel ban on Kashmiri leaders.”

(Note: This piece does not include the full-text of Sharif’s speech but only excerpts of it, in non-linear format, concerning the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir and India-Pakistan relations over the dispute.)