Zee Media Bureau
New York: In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, Pakistan`s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he is looking forward to meeting his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to "make a new beginning" in the relationship between the two nations.
Sharif, however, raked up Kashmir issue at the UN, saying "Kashmiris must be given the right to self determination"
"The suffering of the people cannot be brushed under the carpet, because of power politics," he said in an annual ritual call to "the international community to give an opportunity to the Kashmiris to decide their future peacefully" in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.
"I am looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York to make a new beginning. We have a solid basis to do that," Sharif, however, added.
Asserting that the Pakistani government stands ready to re-engage with India in a substantive and purposeful dialogue, Sharif said Pakistan and India have wasted massive resources on an arms race.
“We could have used those resources for the economic well-being of our people,” he added.
“We still have that opportunity. Pakistan and India can prosper together; and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation.”
Sharif said Pakistan and India must build on a 1999 accord which called for the resolution of all differences through negotiations.
“I am committed to working for a peaceful and economically prosperous region. This is what our people want and this is what I have long aspired for,” Sharif said.
Sharif is expected to meet Dr Singh on Sunday, on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN.
It will be their first meeting since Sharif was re-elected in May - his third term as premier, but first since he was ousted in a 1999 coup.
Sharif told the General Assembly that it was a "new dawn" for Pakistan.
He also urged the US to stop drones strikes in Pakistan.