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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 recent floods.

The flood-induced devastation, which Sharif described in biblical phrases, means it’s incumbent on Pakistan to “guarantee fast financial progress and elevate thousands and thousands out of poverty and starvation,” he mentioned.

However so as to take action, Sharif mentioned, Pakistan wants a “secure exterior setting” — meaning 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 both since they won 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 world phenomenon,” he particularly accused India’s Hindu nationalist authorities of partaking in “the worst manifestation of Islamophobia.”

India — which has mentioned Kashmir is an inside matter and one in every of regulation and order — is scheduled to talk on the Basic Meeting on Saturday. Rights teams have accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing get together of looking the other way and generally enabling hate speech in opposition to Muslims. Modi’s get together denies the accusations, however India’s Muslims say assaults in opposition to them and their religion have elevated sharply.

The 2 South Asian nations lobbed barbs previous each other later within the evening, every invoking the right of reply. An Indian diplomat shot again at Sharif by accusing the prime minister of looking for to “obfuscate misdeeds in his personal nation and to justify actions in opposition to 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 offered a marked contrast from his flashy yet conservative predecessor, Imran Khan, who devoted a lot of final yr’s speech to accusing the US 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 US 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 associate 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 yr, when Khan expressed optimism concerning the then-incipient Taliban rule in Afghanistan and exhorted the Basic Meeting to not isolate the brand new authorities. A yr 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 worry frequent to international locations who sometimes 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. Basic Meeting, go to

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