India Unite Pakistan’s Sparring Political Leaders on Kashmir Issue

ISLAMABAD: An ‘All Parties Conference’ with the sole agenda of discussing India’s Line of Control (LoC) violations and the unrest in Kashmir on Monday united the country’s otherwise wrangling political leaders as the government and opposition said they stood united against “Indian aggression”.

“We don’t want our disagreements to damage the Kashmir cause,” said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the conference concluded and the heads of political parties spoke to journalists about their hours long deliberation.

“I told the prime minister that this is a unique moment for Pakistan… Unity at home can win Kashmiris their freedom. We have all agreed on this.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar, too, echoed his sentiments. “We want to send a message to the outside world that our unity is undeterred,” said Sattar, adding that all political leaders were given a “warm welcome” by the PM at the conference.

“India should know that it will get a befitting response for its terrorism over water in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that Pakistan needs to “fine tune” its diplomatic efforts on Kashmir.

Despite their major reservations with the government and prime minister on individual issues, the usually disgruntled political leaders spoke with one voice at the conference today, setting aside all differences to project a united front on the India issue.

Just days earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan held a massive rally in the prime minister’s homeground of Raiwind, demanding that he be held accountable for his family’s links to offshore accounts.

But today, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi talked about a need for all parties to “put up a united front before the world.”

The PTI leader, before the meeting, appreciated PM Nawaz’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly and noted that the “present government has taken positive steps regarding improvement in relations with India but regrettably, the other side has not reciprocated.”

The meeting was convened with the one-point agenda to send a “clear message to the outside world” regarding what the government feels is continued Indian aggression along the LoC as well as Indian atrocities in held Kashmir.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the meeting vowed to relentlessly highlight the plight of Kashmiri people in international fora with the support of all political parties.The PM said Pakistan’s political leadership stands united on matters of national importance, particularly the Kashmir cause, a statement that was echoed by parliamentary leaders after the meeting.

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