He assures them of Pakistan’s support

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said India should accept Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, and invited it to resolve the issue peacefully through dialogue.

Addressing a joint sitting of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Kashmir Council on Kashmir Solidarity Day in Muzaffarabad, Mr. Sharif said his government was ready to discuss all outstanding issues with India, including Kashmir. He invited India to engage in a “comprehensive sustained and result-oriented dialogue process.”

Unless the Kashmir issue was resolved, there would be uncertainty in the region, he said. He hoped India would respond positively to this invitation for a dialogue and fulfil the Kashmiri people’s aspirations to decide their fate. Fundamental rights and self-determination needed to be enforced, the Prime Minister said, adding the struggle of the Kashmiris was a reaction to the “atrocities” committed by Indian security agencies.

Bringing in the role of the international community, he said it could not be silent over the matter and Pakistan would continue to raise the issue until people got their rights.

Pakistan had initiated confidence-building measures to ease the plight of the Kashmiris, including trade across the Line of Control.

The government had proved its sincerity in 1998 and it again invited India for a dialogue to take things forward, Mr. Sharif said. Oppression and good ties could not go hand in hand.

Mr. Sharif assured the Kashmiri people of Pakistan’s support and said the issue should be resolved in keeping with the United Nations resolutions.