Islamabad: Arguing that the unresolved Kashmir issue poses a threat to the region and the world, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Tuesday asked the international community to push India to resolve the lingering dispute.
"The Kashmir issue is not only a threat for the peace and prosperity of South Asia but also for the entire world and the world should take notice of this vital issue and pressurise India to resolve this lingering issue on the UN agenda according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir," he said.
Addressing an official function organised on Tuesday night to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, which has been observed by Islamabad on February 5 since 1990, Ashraf said Pakistan has always supported dialogue with the Indian government as wars are not a solution to problems.
However, observers said his comments could have been made with an eye on the upcoming general election.
Pakistan wants "good and peaceful relations with all its neighbours", he told a gathering of political leaders and federal ministers. Noting that UN resolutions called for a plebiscite in Kashmir, he alleged India had "forcefully occupied" the region and was ruling it against the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Ashraf was also quoted by state-run Radio Pakistan as saying that "unfortunately India demonstrated intransigence for resolution" of the Kashmir issue. He claimed that a "plebiscite is the right way to give the Kashmiris their right to self-determination". The premier's remarks marked the first time any top Pakistani leader has raised the issue of plebiscite in recent years.
However, observers said his comments could have been made with an eye on the upcoming general election. Ashraf further said the Kashmir dispute was a human
rights issue. "My message to the world is that Kashmir is not an issue between Pakistan and India but it is the issue of 1,600,000 Kashmiri people a human issue which needs resolution according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir," he contended.
He assured the Kashmiris of Pakistan's moral, political and diplomatic support at all regional and international forums. President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari too raised the Kashmir issue at every forum and stood by the Kashmiris in their movement, he added.
The gathering was also addressed by Minister for Kashmir Affairs Manzoor Wattoo and Parliamentary Kashmir Committee chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman.