Pakistan, Kashmir ‘inseparable,’ stop ‘rights violations’: Sharif to India

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday called Pakistan and Kashmir as “inseparable,” and said the United Nations and other countries should fulfil their long standing commitment to the Kashmiris. Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiri people at every forum, he said.

Sharif’s statement came after a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting held in Islamabad on Tuesday and attended by top defence officials including army chief General Raheel Sharif. At the meeting, they discussed the issue of Kashmir and also the surgical strikes carried out by India on terrorists’ launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) along the Line of Control (LoC).

“Pakistan cannot be cowed down with hollow rhetoric and aggressive posturing,” said the leaders after the meeting. The country’s armed forces are fully capable of thwarting any threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity, amid escalating tensions with India after the Uri terror attack, they added.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office released a statement after the meeting, stating, “Internal and external security situation of the country with particular reference to the situation on the LoC and operational preparedness of the armed forces were reviewed in detail during the meeting.”

The leaders expressed “complete satisfaction over operational preparedness” of the armed forces. They resolved that the entire nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its armed forces and will ensure defence of the country at any cost.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan “does not cherish aggressive designs against any country” and believes in “peace and collective betterment”.

“However, our quest for peace must not be mistaken as a sign of weakness; our armed forces are fully capable of thwarting any kind of threat to our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Sharif added.

His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has never attacked any country, nor has it been “hungry for any territory” but made supreme sacrifice fighting for others, referring to the two World Wars.

The developments come amid strained ties between New Delhi and Islamabad after the Uri terror attack and India’s retaliatory surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC.

The NSC meeting referred to India’s surgical strikes as “recent propaganda and false claims” of attacking terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir across the LoC and said India “should resolve the long-standing issue of Kashmir for enduring peace in the region, instead of such futile efforts of diverting attention of the world.”

The leaders said that India must stop “atrocities” in Kashmir and recognise the struggle of Kashmiris for their right of self determination guaranteed by the UNSC resolutions. Pakistan had earlier on Tuesday handed over a dossier to the United States on ‘grave human rights violations’ by India in Kashmir and sought the country’s intervention in the matter.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Jalil Abbas Jilani on Monday met with US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson at the State Department and handed over a dossier containing information on the “gross human rights violations” by the Indian security forces in Kashmir, Foreign Affairs Ministry said in Islamabad.

Jilani said that the international community, especially the US, should take note of the “inhuman and degrading treatment” being meted out to the innocent civilians in Kashmir.

The US, being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, should impress upon India to immediately end the “state-sponsored terrorism”, the Ambassador was quoted as saying by the Ministry in a statement.

The leaders also noted that escalation on LoC and eastern borders will “shift Pakistan’s focus away from its efforts to eliminate terrorism from our soil at a critical stage, and is detrimental” to the successes made by the country in war against terror.