PM urges UN to send fact-finding mission to Occupied Kashmir

Zarghoon Shah

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called upon United Nations Secretary-General to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir, stressing that Azad Jammu and Kashmir cannot be compared to Indian Occupied Kashmir which is facing a grim human rights situation.

In the weekly press briefing today, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria mentioned a letter written by the prime minister on Wednesday to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in response to his letter acknowledging Pakistan's commitment to the Kashmir cause.

The prime minister's letter has also pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on Balochistan were an attempt to divert the international community's attention from the Kashmir dispute.

He said Pakistan would continue to extend support to Kashmiris in the occupied territory.

"We will continue to extend political and diplomatic to Kashmiris until justice is done to the people of Kashmir and the brutalities against them are ended," he said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan's efforts to highlight the Kashmir cause was a matter of commitment for it.

On the nomination of 22 parliamentarians by the prime minister to highlight the Kashmir issue abroad, the spokesperson said it would be an effective and direct political channel in addition to the already in-place efforts of diplomatic envoys.

Zakaria said Pakistan was ready to hold dialogue with India whenever the latter was ready. He, however, stressed that the Kashmir issue would be part of agenda whenever talks are held with India.

"We cannot accept preconditions in talks," he said when his attention was drawn to the statement of the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying India would not engage with Pakistan in talks unless it hands over those involved in the Pathankot incident.

The spokesperson said the international community needed to play its role in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, adding that the United Nations had a responsibility to play in this regard.

US-India deal should not polarise region

The Foreign Office spokesperson said Pakistan would like to see that the recent defence deal between the United States and India did not disturb strategic balance of South Asia.

Zakaria said Pakistan hoped the set arrangements do not contribute to polarising the region by disturbing the strategic balance in South Asia and escalating the arms build-up .

He said that, though the defence pact was an agreement between two sovereign countries, Pakistan hoped it would contribute to peace and stability in the region.

To a question on India's decision to replace the use of pellet shotguns with chilli-filled PAVA shells, he said the Indian decision was an acknowledgement of the heinous crimes being committed against innocent Kashmiris that had killed hundreds and left around 570 with severe eye injuries.