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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says Kashmir an unfinished agenda

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday warned that Pakistan will not tolerate “deliberate” targeting of civilian areas by Indian troops, a day after the Pakistani military claimed 12 people, including soldiers, were killed in alleged cross-border firing.

Mr Sharif, presiding over a meeting with civil and military leaders, said Kashmir was an “unfinished agenda” for Pakistan and the country would not stop pursuing the issue, Geo News reported.

Mr Sharif said Pakistan was deeply concerned at the recent developments in Kashmir and the “gross human rights violations” by Indian forces. “The unresolved Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the main threat to security in the region,” he added.

Referring to the recent ceasefire violations by Indian security forces along the LoC, Mr Sharif said India had deliberately escalated tensions at the LoC in order to try to divert the attention of the international community from the “grave situation in Kashmir.”

He said the international community, particularly the United Kingdom, should take a notice of the gravity of the situation and call on India to respect human rights of the people of Kashmir and implement the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Sharif said Pakistan wanted a serious, sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern.

He claimed Pakistan has so far exercised restraint in the face of Indian actions at the Line of Control, but would not permit deadly attacks on innocent civilians. “We will not tolerate the deliberate attack on innocent civilians,” Mr Sharif said.

His statement came a day after 12 people, including three soldiers, were killed in alleged Indian cross-border firing. India’s response came after the Indian Army warned of “heavy retribution” following the killing of three of its soldiers, with the body of one of them mutilated in a cross-LoC attack.

Pakistan denied as “false” and “baseless” its troops were responsible for the mutilition and deaths of Indian soldiers. Thursday’s meeting with Mr Sharif was attended by advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, national security advisor Nasser Janjua and ISI chief Gen Rizwan Akhtar.

Mr Aziz, Janjua and Gen. Akhtar briefed Sharif regarding the situation across the Line of Control.

Meanwhile, talking to UK secretary of state for foreign and Commonwealth affairs Boris Johnson who called on him here, Mr Sharif expressed his confidence that under its new leadership, Britain will emerge stronger and continue playing an important role in the world affairs.

Mr Sharif also said Pakistan wanted a serious, sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern.

Recalling his cordial meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on the margins of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September 2016, the Pakistan Prime Minister said he looked forward to welcome the British Prime Minister in Islamabad next year.

“Pakistan considers the UK a close friend and a trusted partner; our bilateral relations are founded on shared history, cultural linkages and strong people-to-people contacts,” Mr Sharif said.

He said Pakistan and the UK had strong economic and trade ties. “We are confident that our existing relations with the UK would be further enhanced to the mutual benefit of both countries, especially in the field of trade and investment.

“Pakistan greatly appreciates the work undertaken by the UK department for international development that has created tremendous goodwill for the UK in Pakistan,” he added.

Highlighting Pakistan’s contributions in the global fight against terrorism, Mr Sharif said, “Pakistan has been the worst victim of terrorism,” adding, “We have lost over 60,000 lives and suffered huge economic losses in our fight against terrorism.”

“We are fighting this war as an imperative not as an option,” the Prime Minister said. “The successfully ongoing military operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ is in its final phase and the National Action Plan has been launched to deal with the threat of violent extremism and radicalisation, the Prime Minister said.


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