New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raked up the issue of Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.
Addressing the UNGA in New York, Sharif said that Pakistan was 'disappointed' by the cancellation of secretary-level talks with India. "The world community, too, rightly saw it as another missed opportunity," said Sharif, and averred that his country was ready to resolve the issue with negotiations.
"Pakistan is convinced that we must remain engaged in the dialogue process for settling disputes and building economic and trade relations. Let us not ignore the dividends of peace," he said.
He blamed India for "another missed opportunity" to address outstanding issues by cancelling the talks, and added, "Our support and advocacy of the right to self- determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is our historic commitment and a duty, as a party to the Kashmir dispute."
"Pakistan wants peace in the region by indulging in meaningful dialogues," said Sharif.
"We cannot draw a veil over issue of Kashmir," said Sharif as he called for an end to the crisis in the insurgency-torn Himalayan state of India.
"Many generations of Kashmiris have lived in violence. The core issue of Kashmir has to be resolved — and it is the resposibility of the international community," he added.
Needling India, Sharif said that more than six decades ago, the UN had passed resolutions to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The people of Jammu and Kashmir are still waiting for the fulfillment of that promise," he said.
"Many generations of Kashmiris have lived their lives under occupation, accompanied by violence and abuse of their fundamental rights. Kashmiri women, in particular, have undergone immense suffering and humiliation," he said.
India had called off the Foreign Secretary-level talks in August after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi, ignoring India's warning not to meet the separatist leaders.
With Sharif and Indian PM Narendra Modi likely to come to face-to-face on the sidelines of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, the issue came to light once again.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that Pak had "spoiled the game” by talking to Hurriyat leaders. "New (Narendra Modi) government has given a new signal. So they (Pakistan) spoiled the talks, they spoiled the game," Swaraj said.
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry too touched upon the issue and said that if Indians were interested in a meeting, they should approach the Pakistani side.
"The onus is on India since it cancelled the foreign secretary-level talks which were scheduled to be held in Islamabad last month in a resumption of the peace dialogue," Chaudhry said.