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Zardari lambasts UN, terms Kashmir a symbol of its failure

world Updated: Sep 27, 2012 02:08 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Pakistan President Asif Zardari took the UN to task in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, terming Kashmir a symbol of its failure.

"Kashmir remains a symbol of the failure, rather than strength, of the UN system," he said. He then went on to say that he felt that the resolution of such issues can only be achieved in an environment of cooperation.

At the same time, however, he took a more positive approach to relations with India, expressing optimism over rise in cross-border trade between the two countries. The speech indicated a greater emphasis on regional trade than on how the UN can help settle disputes.

He went on to say that in engaging with our region, "we are changing the future". Here, he mentioned India, saying: "We approach our relations with India on the basis of mutual trust."

The Pakistan president said that contacts between the leaderships of the two countries are expanding and that he was encouraged by his discussions with the Prime Minister of India last month in Tehran, "whom I met for the fifth time in four years."

'Victim of terror'
In the first part of his speech, Zardari once again talked about the role that Pakistan has played in fighting terrorism and at the same time the cost it has had to bear in terms of lives.

"No country and no people have suffered more in the epic struggle against terrorism than Pakistan," he said. "To those who say we have not done enough, I say in all humility, please do not insult the memory of our dead, and the pain of our living." This was a reference to the US insistence on Pakistan to do more, said observers.

Anti-islam film
His opening remarks were, however, reserved for the anti-Islam film that has shaken his country. In his speech, Zardari warned the international community not to become silent observers and "criminalise acts that destroy the peace of the world ... by misusing freedom of expression. He added that Pakistan "moves the United Nations to immediately address in earnest this alarming concern and the widening rift to enable the comity of nations to be one again."