Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Kashmir issue is an important test for the current leadership of the India and Pakistan. He said that both the countries cannot achieve prosperity and progress till they resolve the long disputed issue.
Addressing a joint sitting of the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) legislature, which was held on Kashmir Solidarity Day, Sharif said that people in Kashmir have desire for peace since the independence of both the countries.
“I earnestly feel that history is once again questioning the leadership in India and Pakistan that what they will leave behind for the coming generations – peace or hostilities?”
Referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sharif said that both the governments in the two countries have public mandate and both have to think about the interests of their people.
Sharif said both the countries have differences on many issues but what has been the sad part was the failure to address Kashmir issue even after so many decades.
But a noteworthy thing happened in Islamabad.
Many rallies were taken in Pakistan on Kashmir Solidarity Day. At a conference in Islamabad orgainsed by Jamat-ud Dawa (JuD), Hafeez Sayeed, the chief of JuD and the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, made his appearance after about three years.
Sayeed appreciated Muttahida Jihad Council and called upon Nawaz Sharif to own the Kashmir cause.
“Our army chief recently said Kashmir is an unfinished agenda of partition,” Hafiz Saeed said. “The prime minister is bound to follow the path of Quaid-i-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan and the founding fathers. He should not betray the Kashmir cause.”
Nawaz stressed on the need for dialogue to resolve all the outstanding issues with India which includes Kashmir problem. He said that he has reiterated and raised this issue with Indian leadership that talks are the only solution to move forward.
“Unless we sit together and talk about these issues, they won’t be resolved,” he said.
Sharif seems optimistic about the restart of the talks between the two countries which have been derailed after the Pathankot Air Base Attack.
Throughout his speech, Sharif maintained soft and reconciliatory approach while addressing and didn’t give any provocative statements against India.
He said that Kashmiri people are not demanding something new but they what was promised to them by United Nations.
Sharif, while castigating the United Nations, said that they have failed to implement its own resolutions. “This question is not just linked to the Kashmir issue or Pakistan-India dispute, but to the goodwill, prestige and authority of the world body,” he said.
He said that their country had given full assurance to India about extending its support and cooperation on all issues including the menace of terrorism. “Pakistan is the country worst hit by terrorism… Who else would wish for an end to this savagery?” he asked.
Talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Sharif said PoK will also get also benefited by this project along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
This project has come in sharp criticism as Pakistan government is trying to merge these parts with the country, which are originally a part of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, many separatists from Kashmir including hardliner separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani wrote to the Pakistan Prime Minister and raised their serious concerns about it.
Meanwhile, the day got a mixed response in Kashmir Valley. Some of the people are of the opinion that this day has its own significance while others believe that is nothing more than just a ritual.