In an United Nations address highlighting that the world is at crossroads – it is freer and more vibrant but chaotic and turbulent; more independent but unequal; and more prosperous but afflicted with poverty – the Prime Minister of Pakistan cautioned that regional peace is under threat as competition between major powers has become more confrontational.
“A new Cold War threatens to engulf Europe [and] turmoil is intensifying in the Middle East,” said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in his address to the General Assembly today.
“Peace cannot be built when injustice prevails,” he added, noting that it is essential to reconcile the divergent objectives and priorities of regional and external powers.
He reported to the General Assembly that the adverse global economic environment, Pakistan has robust growth and that it has fully integrated the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into its economic and social strategy.
Stressing that internal peace and stability are a requisite for economic development, Prime Minister Sharif said that Pakistan, despite being a victim to international terrorism, will not allow externally sponsored terrorism and threats of destabilization to cause turbulence.
“We will not win the fight against terrorism and violent extremism so long as we do not address their root causes,” he noted, adding that these lie in “poverty and ignorance, political and social injustice and oppression, foreign intervention and occupation and denial of the legitimate rights of peoples and nations, especially the right to self-determination.”
Referring specifically to Afghanistan, the Pakistani leader underlined that progress will be assured only when the Afghan parties themselves conclude that there is no military solution to the conflict there and work diligently, through a meaningful dialogue process, to achieve reconciliation and peace within the country.
Also stressing that Pakistan wants peace with India, Prime Minister Sharif said: “Let us be clear: talks are no favour to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries. They are essential to resolve our differences, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and to avert the danger of any escalation.”
He made a strong call for an independent inquiry into the extra-judicial killings in Kashmir and for a UN fact finding mission to investigate “brutalities perpetrated by the Indian occupying forces,” so that those guilty of these atrocities are punished, as well as called the implementation of Security Council resolutions on the subject of Kashmir.
“This General Assembly must demand that India deliver on the commitments its leaders solemnly made on many occasions,” he emphasized.
The Prime Minister also said that as a responsible nuclear weapon State, Pakistan will continue to cooperate with all international efforts that seek to promote fair and equitable solutions to disarmament and non-proliferation challenges and that it has introduced “state of the art” measures to strengthen the safety and security of our nuclear materials and facilities, and said that the basis of objective criteria, and without discrimination, it is fully eligible for membership of the nuclear suppliers’ group.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Sharif emphasized his country’s unwavering commitment to the UN as illustrated by its contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts.
“Pakistan has a vital stake in ending conflicts, fostering peace, fighting terrorism, strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, generating global growth and overcoming the challenges of environmental degradation,” he said, adding: “We can achieve these goals, and create a new and peaceful world order, only through the UN and by strict adherence to the principles of its Charter.”