Dushanbe rendezvous: Indian diatribe disappointing: PM
June 10, 2015

DUSHANBE:

Amidst a fresh salvo of hostile rhetoric from New Delhi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that the recent provocative statements of Indian leaders are ‘disappointing’.

He called upon the United Nations Security Council to ensure implementation of its resolutions to resolve the festering dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The prime minister raised the issue in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon which took place on the margins of the High-Level International Conference on the implementation of the International Decade, ‘Water for Life’ in Tajikistan’s capital.

Premier Nawaz regretted that New Delhi did not reciprocate to Islamabad’s peace overtures and offers to revive the composite dialogue process that was suspended following the 2008 terrorist attacks on landmarks in the Indian commercial capital of Mumbai.

The prime minister had travelled to the Indian capital to attend the swearing-in ceremony of his counterpart Narendra Modi after the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was voted to power in the 2014 elections. The two leaders had agreed to a meeting between the foreign secretaries of their countries to explore the possibility of revival of the stalled dialogue process.

However, the Modi administration suspended the scheduled meeting after Pakistan’s high commissioner met with leaders from the Indian-administered Kashmir. Since then relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours have been tense. The recent hostile statements from top Indian leaders, including Premier Modi, have further bedevilled their bilateral relationship.

Kashmir has been the bone of contention between the two countries. Premier Nawaz said it was the responsibility of the UN Security Council to ensure implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir dispute. He called upon the UN secretary general to play an effective role in ensuring durable peace in the South Asian region. He added that Islamabad appreciated Ban’s efforts for peace and prosperity worldwide.

He told Ban that the overriding foreign policy priority of his government was a peaceful neighbourhood.
“This is vital for the well-being and prosperity of our people,” he added. “Pakistan highly appreciates and values your leadership in advancing the key objectives of peace and development, and would continue to fully support your efforts.”

Premier Nawaz said Pakistan being among the top contributors to the UN peacekeeping operations, would continue to respond to calls for peacekeeping. “Pakistan has a strong and steadfast relationship with the UN and peacekeeping is the cornerstone of its foreign policy,” he added.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that at the Dushanbe meeting the secretary-general underscored the need for improving relations between India and Pakistan.
“The secretary-general and the prime minister also discussed relations among countries in the region, including Afghanistan and Central Asian countries,” Dujarric told the regular noon briefing in New York. “The secretary-general emphasised the need for improved relations between Pakistan and India,” he added.

Asked whether the Kashmir dispute figured in the talks, the spokesman said the two leaders talked about a range of issues between the two neighbours. “On the issue of countering terrorism, the secretary-general stressed the importance of addressing root causes,” the spokesman said. “He (Ban) also asked for Pakistan’s support in adopting and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Dujarric added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2015.