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Pak PM Nawaz Sharif raises Kashmir issue in UN speech

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday raked up the Kashmir issue in his UN general assembly speech.

Addressing the UN general assembly, he also proposed restraint by both countries from “use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances” and formalisation of the 2003 border ceasefire as part of the formula to ensure peaceful ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Cooperation, not confrontation, should define our relationship,” Sharif said while underlining the “primacy and urgency” of addressing the issues of Kashmir and peace and security between India and Pakistan.

At the same time, he insisted that “consultations with Kashmiris, who are an integral part of the dispute, are essential to evolving a peaceful solution.”

Sharif suggested four ways for a new peace initiative with India.

“I want to use this opportunity today to propose a new peace initiative with India starting with measures that are simplest to implement,” he said.

He then went on to list out the four ways:

1) We propose that Pakistan and India formalize and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir. For this purpose, we call for UNMOGIP (United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan) expansion to monitor the observance of ceasefire.

2) We propose that Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances. This is a central element of the UN charter.

3) Steps must be taken to demilitarize Kashmir

4) Agree to unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battle ground.

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