Pak rakes up Kashmir issue at UN assembly
Pakistan leaders generally lose no opportunity to raise the Kashmir issue on international forums and the speech of President Asif Ali Zardari to the world body was no exception.Updated: Sep 26, 2012 15:14 IST
Pakistan leaders generally lose no opportunity to raise the Kashmir issue on international forums and the speech of President Asif Ali Zardari to the world body was no exception.
The Pakistani leader restated Islamabad's resolve to back the "rights" of Jammu and Kashmir residents on Tuesday afternoon, when he addressed the 67th annual session of the UN general assembly.
"Kashmir remains a symbol of the failures rather than strengths of the UN system. We feel that resolution of these issues can only be arrived in an environment of cooperation," he said.
Zardari's remarks came despite the fact that secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and his predecessors had previously made it clear that the UN would not interfere in the Kashmir dispute, which they essentially termed as bilateral, unless both parties-India and Pakistan-agreed to the mediation.
New Delhi has time and again ruled out the possibility of any "third-party" mediation on the issue.
In his speech, Zardari also stated that Pakistan's friendship with Afghanistan had started to improve and urged the international community to remain committed to the 3 million Afghan refugees in his country.
He stressed his country's commitment to peace and democracy, saying Paksitan had undergone "unprecedented reforms", while also recalling the country's difficulties in achieving them.
"Democracy has brought about many changes in our country," Zardari said on the first day of the general debate, which ends on October 1 after the participation of a number of world leaders.
He noted that the "gifts of democracy" included wide-ranging social reforms, the creation of the first social safety net for the country's poor and a flourishing civil society, as well as enhanced rights for women and the poor.
He also voiced the hope that his administration would be the first civilian government in 66-years history of his country, to complete its full five-year term.
However, remembering Pakistan's long and tortured relationship with authoritarianism and terrorism, the president reminded the world leaders that his country's current troubles were "a product of dictatorships".
"These dictators and their regimes are responsible for suffocating and throttling Pakistan, Pakistan's institutions, and Pakistani democracy," he stated, as he held a photograph of his deceased wife, the former Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007.
First Published: Sep 26, 2012 10:38 IST