Washington: Even as India considers military options to deal with cross-border terror after Sunday’s Uri attack , a comment from Pakistan on Wednesday – especially its timing – should give pause to anyone in New Delhi considering ill-thought-out plans of retaliation.
” Pakistan’s nuclear program cannot be restricted,” said Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, today in a New York press conference, Pakistani media reported.
Lodhi said that at a meeting with US secretary of state John Kerry urged Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to limit Pakistan’s atomic program . In response, Sharif told Kerry that what was expected of Pakistan must also be implemented by India, according to Lodhi.
“The world should first put an end to nuclear activities undertaken by India,” Lodhi told reporters, adding that Pakistan’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group+ was also discussed during the meeting with Kerry.
Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, who addressed the press conference with Lodhi, said that “no other state had acted against terrorism as much as Pakistan had.”
These comments were a precursor to Pakistan PM Sharif’s address to the UN General Assembly , which is scheduled for later today. In fact, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is also scheduled to address the same forum this week.
While the focus of Swaraj’s speech is going to be the Uri terror attack – in which 18 soldiers were killed – Sharif is expected to focus on the unrest in Kashmir.
The Pakistani PM’s speech, though, is going to be overshadowed by news that two US lawmakers today introduced legislation in the US Congress to designate Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. India has found strong evidence that the Uri attack was a Pakistan-sponsored one. Leaders around the world, including those of the US, France and the UK, among others, condemned the attack and vigorously called for an end to State-supported terror anywhere in the world.
“PM’s speech is going to be important. PM Nawaz is going to present a strong case of occupied Kashmir in front of the world,” Chaudhry said today.
“He also said that PM Nawaz would also speak about Indian involvement in Pakistan during his address,” an article in Pakistan’s The News International said.
The Pakistani newspaper claims that at Sharif’s meeting with Kerry, both “expressed strong concern at the recent violence in Kashmir – particularly the army base attack – and the need for all sides to reduce tensions.”