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Pak PM sharpens tone for UNGA showdown with India over Kashmir

india Updated: Sep 21, 2016 14:26 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
Kashmir situation

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends a Leader's Summit on Refugees during the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.(AP)

Nawaz Sharif has prepared his ground. Over to the podium later Wednesday, the Pakistan prime minister is readying for a showdown with India over the Kashmir issue at the UN general assembly.

Given that his UNGA address comes amid a diplomatic spar between the neighbours heightened by a deadly militant attack in Uri on Sunday, Sharif will go for high-voltage diplomacy. This, Indian sources maintain, “doesn’t wash” given an “overwhelming and irrefutable evidence” that Pakistan is a terror sponsor.

As India, too, works overtime to garner support, Sharif seems to be seeking a third-party intervention on Kashmir. This, when India maintains the dispute is a bilateral affair, which is the essence of the 1972 Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration of 1999.

Sharif, on the sidelines of the UNGA, has already held discussions with the leaders of the US, UK, Japan and Turkey. On Tuesday, Sharif met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a close ally of India, and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in United Nations.

Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said Sharif “briefed Japanese Prime Minister about the grave turn that the situation in occupied Kashmir is taking”. “Reminded him about United Nations Security resolutions,” he said in a tweet.

“PM Nawaz Sharif also apprised his Japanese counterpart of the human rights violations being committed by Indian occupation forces in Kashmir,” Lodhi said in another tweet.

According to Lodhi, Sharif and Erdogan “agreed that OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) on Human Rights should send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir”.

Indian officials said Pakistan, which “exports terror and destabilises the region”, blaming India will not make an impact among the world leaders when the “whole world is focused on fighting terror”.

But Sharif will take to the podium and set the stage again for a showdown with India.