Sunday December 03, 2023

Kashmir key to peace: Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said Friday the UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue are “the key to peace” between the two nuclear-armed nations

By Ag App & News Desk
September 23, 2023
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar seen addressing  the UN General Assembly session on September 22, 2023. x/PakPMO
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar seen addressing  the UN General Assembly session on September 22, 2023. x/PakPMO

NEW YORK: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar said Friday the UN resolutions on the Kashmir issue are “the key to peace” between the two nuclear-armed nations.

In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly session, he said the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was one of the oldest agendas at the UN Security Council, but India had continued to evade implementation of the global forum’s resolutions on the dispute. He said these resolutions call for the final dispossession of the disputed Himalayan territory to be decided by its people through a UN-supervised plebiscite.

Calling upon the UNSC to ensure implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir, he stressed reinforcement of the UN military observer group in 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”. PM Kakar 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 to Kashmir”. He also 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.

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.” The premier went on to say that New Delhi also needed to oppose state terrorism and address the root causes of terrorism such as poverty, injustice and foreign occupation and distinguish genuine freedom struggle from terrorism.

Kakar urged the global powers to convince India to accept Islamabad’s offer of mutually restraining strategic and conventional weapons, saying that Pakistan seeks peaceful ties with all its neighbours. “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 its neighbours, including India,” he said while addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at its 78th session in New York. “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.

Kakar said Pakistan sees the rise of new and old military and political blocs as tensions between the global powers have continued to escalate. “Geo-politics is resurging when geo-economics should have primacy in the world. The world cannot afford Cold War 2.0. There are far greater challenges confronting humankind, which demand global cooperation and collective action,” he urged. The prime minister was of the view that the world’s economic prospects appeared gloomy. “Global growth is slow. High-interest rates could trigger a recession. A succession of exogenous shocks - Covid, conflict, and climate change - have devastated the economies of many developing countries. “Many countries of the global South have barely managed to stave off defaults. Poverty and hunger have grown, reversing the development gains of three decades,” he added.

Meanwhile, in an interview with PTV on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Anwaarul Haq Kakar said the expansionist designs of the Indian government under its Hindutva ideology were extremely dangerous for regional and global peace and security. Referring to the murder of a Sikh leader on Canadian soil by India as a state, he said Pakistan had been directly bearing the brunt of India’s nefarious designs for a long time, but the recent wave of Hindutva had even alarmed the Western capitals. Pakistan, he said, had been persistently highlighting India’s hegemonic designs under its Hindutva ideology for long and would keep doing so. “We have also taken up the issue along with the targeted killing in Canada with the United Nations General Secretary,” he added.

The capturing of the Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav from Balochistan was clear proof of India’s direct interference in Pakistan. He said Pakistan was fully capable of tackling the challenge of terrorism. “We are proud of our military that has developed the capability of eliminating the menace,” he said, adding Pakistan was in close coordination with the regional countries, including Afghanistan, in that regard. The entire region was deeply concerned and worried about the resurgence of terrorism, he remarked.

As regards relations with China, PM Kakar said Pakistan enjoyed its deep-rooted and all-weather friendship with China, which “will remain intact in future”. He drew parallels between Pakistan’s strong ties with China and the support the United States provides to Israel. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, he emphasised the strategic relationship between Pakistan and China and compared it to the special relationship between the United States and Israel.

The prime minister made this comparison while responding to a question about the current state of Pakistan-China relations. He said, “Pakistan enjoys a strategic relationship with China. We are very clear that there are people who would liken Pakistan to China’s equivalent of Israel. This analogy might resonate better with the American audience, as you can appreciate the significance of Israel for the United States.” Furthermore, he highlighted the shared interests and commonalities between Pakistan and China, particularly in addressing emerging crises within the region. These commonalities encompassed areas such as the One-China policy and China’s positions on issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang. He said Pakistan was a sovereign and independent country. “If anybody thinks that we will develop relations with any country at China’s cost, it cannot understand the legitimate interests of Pakistan with respect to China,” he added.

He said Pakistan had also friendly relations with the United States and other Western countries. A large number of Pakistanis were in the US and were playing a key role in furthering bilateral relations between the two countries, he added.

Regarding his meeting with the International Monetary Fund chief, the prime minister said that the IMF head expressed her pleasure when she was told about the strict actions taken by the Government of Pakistan against smugglers and currency hoarders. The IMF’s only objective was to improve Pakistan’s economic situation and that was why it wanted assurances that the funds being given by it were in safe hands, he added.

The prime minister expressed the hope that due to the government’s crackdown on the electricity theft, the utility bills would gradually reduce in the coming days. He said the power sector reforms were extremely necessary for improving the country’s overall economic structure. With respect to last year’s donor conference held in Geneva in the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan, PM Kakar called upon the countries and financial institutions to honour their $10bn pledges so that the rehabilitation and reconstruction work could be undertaken in the flood-affected areas. Pakistan is one of the worst affected countries by the impacts of climate change. The epic floods of last summer submerged a third of the country, killed 1,700 and displaced over 8 million people, destroyed vital infrastructure, and caused over $30 billion in damage to its economy, he added.

Kakar further said Pakistan’s triple challenge of food, fuel, and finance is a prime illustration of the impacts of Covid, conflicts, and climate on developing countries. “Attempts to selectively provide the climate change funds on the basis of geo-political considerations should be resisted,” the interim prime minister cautioned.

PM Kakar also stated that peace in Afghanistan was imperative for Pakistan. “We advocate continued humanitarian assistance to a destitute Afghan population in which girls and women are most vulnerable as well as revival of the Afghan economy and implementation of connectivity projects with Central Asia,” he stressed.

The premier further mentioned that Pakistan’s first priority was to prevent and counter all terrorism from and inside Afghanistan.“Pakistan condemns cross-border terrorist attacks against Pakistan by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Daesh and other groups operating from Afghanistan.“We have sought Kabul’s support and cooperation to prevent these attacks. however, we are also taking necessary measures to end this externally encouraged terrorism,” he said. Regarding the general election, the prime minister said the caretaker government’s key responsibility was to facilitate the Election Commission of Pakistan in holding smooth, free and fair polls.

Separately, Caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar invited the Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent of North America (APPNA) to invest in Pakistan’s health tourism, medical and paramedical education, training and skill development sectors.

Talking to a delegation of APPNA, led by its President Dr Arshad Rehan, that called on him on the sidelines of the UNGA session in New York, he appreciated the Association’s social welfare, educational and medical relief missions and programmes in Pakistan.

Also, Anwaarul Haq Kakar called upon the US corporate sector to look at ways to further enhance its long and productive relationship with Pakistan. He was addressing a delegation of the US Pakistan Business Council (USPBC), on the sidelines of the annual session of the UNA. The prime minister said attracting foreign investments in all sectors of Pakistan was the government’s top priority.

Kakar said the government believed in a no-holds-barred foreign investment regime and had constituted the Special Investment Facilitation Council to facilitate foreign investors, bolster their confidence and expedite project implementation in priority areas of agriculture, IT, energy and minerals and mining. The caretaker prime minister in particular identified the agriculture, and technical sectors including fintech, pharmaceuticals, health, and digital banking sectors where the US companies could focus their investments in Pakistan.

Ms Esperanza Jelalian, President of USPBC, congratulated the caretaker PM on assuming office and assured that USPBC would continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan to seek mutually beneficial ways of enhancing cooperation.