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Sharif raises Kashmir pitch, calls militant Burhan Wani 'charismatic leader'

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday the world needs to tell India “enough is enough” regarding its policy towards Jammu and Kashmir.

Sharif was addressing an International Parliamentary Seminar on Kashmir in Islamabad.

Relations between India and Pakistan have plummeted since an attack on an Indian Army base in Uri killed 19 soldiers. New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing between the two sides.

“Seventy years of brutal repression and Kashmiri struggle in the face of that oppression have shown cries of freedom cannot be stifled by sounds of bullets,” Sharif said on Thursday.

He called for an end to the “continued suffering” in Kashmir, where a separatist campaign that New Delhi says is armed and financed by Islamabad has left thousands dead.

Sharif called militant Burhan Wani, whose killing in July last year triggered widespread unrest in Kashmir, as a “vibrant and charismatic leader” who “has become a rallying point” for Kashmiris.

He said India and Pakistan had promised to recognise the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination.

Sharif’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan was determined to support Kashmiris despite certain foreign policy challenges.

Aziz said the government “will continue highlighting the Kashmir issue and human rights violations there”.

Pakistan last year launched what it called an international outreach to mobilise support for its Kashmir pitch, sending 22 parliamentarians as special envoys to important international capitals amid a deadly unrest in the valley that left nearly 100 people dead after the July 8 killing of militant leader Wani.

The turmoil in Kashmir, which India blamed on Pakistan, worsened the already deteriorating ties between the two countries.

Aziz said it was not possible for the two neighbours to hold peace talks on unilateral conditions.

“The basic problem is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to improve relations on his own terms. One of his basic conditions is that there should be no discussion on Kashmir,” Aziz said.

Source: HindustanTimes