Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif raises the issue of Kashmir at the CICA summit; India gives appropriate answer

New Delhi: Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday accused the Indian government of committing atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir and said it was up to New Delhi to be results-oriented. Speaking at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Kazakhstan, Sharif said he is “absolutely ready” to engage in serious dialogue and discussion with Indians, provided they demonstrate giving the “sincerity” of the cause and showing that they are willing to discuss issues that have really kept India-Pakistan at bay for decades.

“Pakistan desires peaceful relations with all its neighbors, including India. But until India ends its atrocities in occupied Kashmir, a just and lasting peace will remain elusive,” he said.

Meenakshi Lekhi, India’s state foreign minister, hit back at Sharif, saying Pakistan has once again used the CICA platform to promote “false and malicious propaganda” against India. She also said Pakistan is diverting attention from the group’s discussions.

“The union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are and will remain an integral part of India. Pakistan has no place to comment on India’s internal affairs,” Lekhi said.

She said Sharif’s comments amounted to “gross interference in India’s internal affairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity” and were inconsistent with CICA’s principles governing relations between member states.

She also called on Pakistan to end “serious and ongoing human rights violations in Pakistani-occupied Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh” and to refrain from further material changes in the status of the region.

“Pakistan must also leave the Indian territories that are illegally and forcibly occupied,” the minister added.

“Pakistan is the global epicenter of terrorism and continues to be the source of terrorist activity, including in India. Pakistan still does not invest in human development, but provides its resources to create and maintain the infrastructure of terrorism,” Lekhi said.

(With input from the agency)

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