Pakistan's prime minister reiterates ‘support for Kashmiri struggle’

Shehbaz Sharif praises Kashmiris for opposing India's 'oppressive occupation' of the disputed territory

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the guard of honour ceremony in Islamabad, on April 12.  Reuters

Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday reaffirmed his country’s support for what he called the “legitimate struggle” of the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan will continue to extend all possible support to the Kashmiris in their just struggle for the right to self-determination as pledged to them by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” Mr Shahbaz said at a press briefing.

“Pakistan salutes the Kashmiris as they remain undaunted in their determination to stand against India’s oppressive occupation.”

In 2019, India annulled the Jammu and Kashmir state's semi-autonomous status, breaking them into two federal territories. Both India and Pakistan claim the territory in its entirety.

Mr Sharif's statements come two days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kashmir, where he promised to boost the economy there.

During his trip, Mr Modi announced development initiatives worth 200 billion rupees ($2.7 billion) and inaugurated multiple projects, including two hydropower initiatives, an all-weather tunnel and a plan to rejuvenate water bodies in the region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function to commemorate the annual Panchayati Raj Day in Palli village of Jammu, the winter capital of Indian Kashmir.  EPA

Mr Sharif also highlighted the Kashmiri death toll which he blamed on Indian forces.

“For the international community, it is extremely alarming that more than 580 innocent Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian occupation forces since August 2019.”

Mr Sharif also “thanked the Saudi leadership for always standing by Pakistan".

The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) state news agency reported that Mr Sharif is scheduled to visit the kingdom soon.

The prime minister had “directed the relevant authorities to formulate recommendations” to cement Pakistan's ties with Saudi Arabia before the trip, APP said.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 11:00 AM
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