Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday appointed 22 parliamentarians as special envoys “for fighting the Kashmir cause in different parts of the world”.
“I am standing behind these special envoys to ensure their toil for highlighting the Kashmir cause resonates across the world so that I can shake the collective conscience of the international community during my address at the UN this September,” Sharif was quoted as saying by Dunya News.
The move marks an escalation in Pakistan’s ongoing row with India over the unrest in Kashmir following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
Sharif said Pakistan will remind the United Nations of its long-held promise of self-determination for the Kashmiri people, the report said.
Sharif’s remarks came on the 50th day of violent protests in Kashmir that have claimed 69 lives and left hundreds injured. India has accused Pakistan of inciting violence in Kashmir and supporting cross-border terrorism.
The war of words between the two countries heated up after India said it would take up Pakistan’s offer of talks provided they focussed on cross-border terrorism and not Kashmir.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told a recent news briefing in Islamabad that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had crossed a “red line” by raising Balochistan in his Independence Day speech. He also said Pakistan will raise the Kashmir issue at the UN general assembly next month.
Modi recently said Pakistan will have to answer for “atrocities” in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. During his Independence Day speech, he again referred to the matter and said people in Balochistan and PoK had thanked him for raising the issue.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup later accused Pakistan of being involved in violence and terrorism against India since 1947 and supporting terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir “that continues to the present day”.