Kashmir a symbol of UN’s failure, says Zardari

NEW YORK (TIP): Pakistan on Wednesday once again resorted to its old tactics of raking up Kashmir in the United Nations when its President Asif Ali Zardari sought a solution to the issue under UN resolution. He said Kashmir remains a symbol of failure of the UN system and Pakistan’s principled position on territorial disputes remains a bedrock of its foreign policy.

“Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN system,” Zardari said in his 20-minute speech at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly here.

“We feel that resolution of these issues can only be arrived in an environment of cooperation,” he said.
“We will continue to support the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to peacefully choose their destiny in accordance with the UN Security Council’s long-standing resolutions on this matter,” the Pakistani President said.
Later, as Zardari exited the General Assembly hall, he was asked to comment on his remarks that Kashmir is a “symbol of failure” of the UN system. Zardari, however, did not clarify or elaborate further.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also did not elaborate on the president’s remarks on Kashmir.
“It is in the speech, please read that. He said what he said. It is elaborated enough,” she said.
Pakistan has raked up the issue of Kashmir at the UN forum time and again but India has insisted that it is its internal matter.

US President Barack Obama has also ruled out any “outside” solution to the Kashmir issue, saying in an interview in July that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves.

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Highlighting his country’s foreign policy towards its neighbors in the sub-continent in his address, Zardari said Pakistan approaches its relations with India on mutual trust.

“Our principled position on territorial disputes remains a bedrock of our foreign policy,” he added.
Noting that contacts between the leadership of India and Pakistan are “expanding”, Zardari said he was “encouraged” by his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month in Tehran.

The meeting with Singh in Iran on the sidelines of the NAM Summit was the fifth one in four years for him, Zardari informed the General Assembly.

He said by normalizing trade relations, Pakistan wants to create a regional South Asian narrative, which would provide an environment that would mutually benefit the countries of the region.

Zardari acknowledged that the road ahead will have pitfalls, including the tendency to respond to failure through blame.

“Pakistan does not blame others for the challenges it faces. We believe we should look for win-win solutions,” he said.

He stressed that “regional cooperation and connectivity will bring us closer and bind us together. It will make us stakeholders in each other’s futures.”

Pakistan has learnt a lesson from the past 30 years that while history cannot be changed, the future can be “brighter, more prosperous and more secure, not only for Pakistanis, but for all people of the region, and indeed the world.”

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