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Sharif seeks US help to resolve issues with India

UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged the United States on Monday to help resolve issues between Pakistan and India.

At a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in New York, Mr Sharif highlighted the atrocities Indian security forces were committing in held Kashmir as part of their effort to curb a popular uprising in the Valley.

The prime minister, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, also criticised India’s attempt to implicate Pakistan in Sunday’s militant attack in Uri, which killed 18 Indian soldiers.

“Pakistan has always fought terrorism as a moral obligation. I have always reached out to neighboring countries for regional peace, stability and prosperity,” he said.

Mr Sharif told the top US diplomat that more than 107 people had been killed in India-held Kashmir, thousands injured and worst human rights violations were being committed at the state level, said a statement released by his office.

“I still remember (former) president (Bill) Clinton’s promise that the US will play its role to help out in resolving bilateral disputes and issues between Pakistan and India,” he said.

“I expect the US administration and Secretary Kerry to use his good offices to help resolve issues between Pakistan and India.’’

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry assisted the prime minister in the meeting.

Mr Sharif, while recalling his constructive meetings with the US president during the last three years, emphasised that strong relations between Pakistan and the United States remained a mutual desire and this partnership was critical to ensuring regional peace and stability.

The prime minister apprised Secretary Kerry of the successes in the field of counterterrorism, particularly Operation Zarb-i-Azab.

The US side did not issue its version of the meeting, but a press release by the prime minister’s staff said that Secretary Kerry appreciated the efforts of the armed forces of Pakistan, security institutions and police in rooting out terrorism and extremism.

Mr Kerry said that Pakistan and Afghanistan had mutual interests in peace and security.

He also lauded the economic turnaround achieved by the present government and successful completion of the IMF programme.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talk during a bi-lateral meeting at the United Nations Building in New York City.— AFP
British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif talk during a bi-lateral meeting at the United Nations Building in New York City.— AFP

Secretary Kerry also praised Pakistan’s efforts to add thousands of megawatts of electricity to the system through execution of various power projects. He said that Pakistan’s efforts in growth and education were positive.

He said terrorists’ infrastructure had been dismantled and they were on the run because of the indiscriminate action taken against all terrorist elements. Implementation of the National Action Plan across the country is in full swing. The national resolve against terrorism and extremism is unflinching, he added.

Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Sharif expressed satisfaction over the hard work that had been done under the QCG (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) process, of which both Pakistan and the US are members. He stressed the need for meaningful engagement with Afghanistan.

In a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Mr Sharif asked her to play her role in persuading India to stop brutal use of force in the disputed region.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2016

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