Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, in his first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), called upon the world powers to convince India of Pakistan's proposal of mutually stopping the arms race.
"Global powers should convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restraint on strategic and conventional weapons," he said while putting the country's demands before the UNGA at its 78th session in New York on Friday.
The premier conveyed Islamabad's desire to build a peaceful atmosphere with its neighbours including New Delhi.
"Development depends on peace. Pakistan is situated in the least economically integrated region in the world. Pakistan believes that regions develop together therefore [the country] desires peaceful and productive relations with all neighbours, including India," he added.
The premier also stressed that the UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue are "the key to peace" between the two nuclear-armed nations.
He added that the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) is one of the oldest agendas at the UN Security Council, but India has continued to evade the implementation of the global forum's resolutions on the dispute.
He further said that these resolutions call for the final dispossession of the disputed Himalayan territory to be decided by its people through a UN-supervised plebiscite.
PM Kakar also slammed India for the deployment of 900,000 troops in IIOJK after the revocation of Kashmir's special status on August 5, 2019, in order to impose the "final solution for Kashmir".
Continuing his criticism of New Delhi, he lamented the extended lockdowns and curfews in the disputed valley, confinement of Kashmiri leaders and extrajudicial killings of innocent Kashmiris in fake encounters and search operations
Calling upon the UNSC to ensure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir, he stressed reinforcement of a UN military observer group on India and Pakistan and a collective global effort to "convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restrain on strategic and conventional weapons".
Lashing out at the Indian government, PM Kakar said, “We must counter all terror without discrimination, including the rising threat posed by far-right extremist and fascist groups such as Hindutva-inspired extremists, threatening genocide against Indian Muslims and Christians alike.”
He went on to say that New Delhi also needed to oppose state terrorism, address the root cause of terrorism such as poverty, injustice and foreign occupation and distinguish genuine freedom struggle from terrorism.
The interim premier termed peace in Afghanistan a strategic imperative for Pakistan. He added that Pakistan shares the international community's concerns with respect to Afghanistan, particularly the rights of women and girls.
He, however, said Pakistan advocates continued humanitarian assistance to the destitute Afghan population in which Afghan women and girls are the most vulnerable as well as support for the revival of the Afghan economy and implementation of connectivity projects with Central Asia.
PM Kakar also said Pakistan's first priority is to prevent and counter all forms of terrorism from and within Afghanistan. He said Islamabad "condemns the cross-border attacks against Pakistan by the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan], Daesh and other groups operating from Afghanistan".
"Though Pakistan enjoys Afghan support and cooperation to prevent these attacks, it is also taking necessary measures to end this externally encouraged terrorism," he added.
At the UNSC reform, Premier Kakar said Pakistan does not believe in elitism within the comity of nations.
Pakistan, he said, believed that adding additional permanent members — India is one of the aspirants — to the Security Council would further erode its credibility and legitimacy.
"The widest possible agreement can be best achieved on the basis of the Uniting for Consensus Group’s proposal for expansion of the Council only in the non-permanent category with provision for a limited number of longer-term seats," he added.
"Pakistan believes that to build, preserve and promote peace and prosperity today, and in the future, it is vital to reduce great power rivalry and tensions; ensure strict adherence to the UN Charter; consistently implement the Security Council resolutions; eliminate the root causes of conflicts; and respect the principles of non-use of force; self-determination; sovereignty and territorial integrity; non-interference in the internal affairs of states and peaceful co-existence.”
Alluding to the phenomenon of Islamophobia, the premier said it has assumed epidemic proportions after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as manifested in the negative profiling of Muslims and attacks on Islamic sites and symbols such as the recent public desecration of the Holy Quran.
He recalled that the UNGA last year adopted a resolution proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC declaring 15 March as an International Day to combat Islamophobia.
He said earlier this year the human rights council adopted an OIC resolution submitted by Pakistan urging states to outlaw the burning of the Holy Quran and similar provocations. He said Islamabad welcomes the legislation initiated by Denmark and contemplated by Sweden towards this end.
The caretaker premier said Pakistan and the OIC countries would propose further steps to combat Islamophobia including the appointment of a special envoy, the creation of an Islamophobia data centre, legal assistance to victims and an accountability process to punish Islamophobic crimes.
“Pakistan welcomes the progress made towards ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen,” Premier Kakar said.
In particular, he added, that Islamabad warmly welcomed the normalisation of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“Unfortunately, the tragedy of Palestine continues, with Israeli military raids, air strikes, expansion of settlements and eviction of Palestinians,” he said
Durable peace can be established only through a two-state solution, he added.
The premier went on to say that peace in the region is linked with the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State within pre-June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
"The UN peacekeeping has been a successful story... over more than six decades Pakistan has contributed 230,000 peacekeepers in 47 missions across the world," the caretaker prime minister said.
Today UN peacekeepers face complex and unprecedented challenges, especially from criminals and terrorist groups, he added. “We must ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.”
Pakistan, he also said, will continue to work with the UN to develop the capabilities and more robust mandate required for successful enforcement action by the UN and international forces where needed.
Earlier, the premier began the address by mentioning the different ongoing international conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war.
He said that the tensions between the global powers have continued to escalate amid the rise of new and old military and political blocks.
He added that geo-politics is resurging when geo-economics should have primacy in the world.
“The world cannot afford Cold War 2.0,” the interim PM said while highlighting the urgency to address various challenges, such as economy, pandemics, conflicts and climate change, through global cooperation.
He reiterated Pakistan’s demand for the fulfilment of climate change commitments made at COP23 while stating the scale of loss and damages the country had to suffer in the name of catastrophic floods of 2022.
He also assured the UNGA of Pakistan’s commitment to rapid economic recovery, saying that the country will stabilise its reserves and foreign exchange currency.
— With additional input from APP
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