Islamabad, October 20: Ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“Though India did not want such (third party) intervention, but the world powers should get involved to resolve the (Kashmir) issue,” he told reporters in London during a stopover while on his way to US wherein he will meet Mr. Obama on Wednesday.
“India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and the region was a nuclear flash point,” state-run APP news agency quoted the prime minister as saying.
Replying to a query on Kashmir, Mr. Sharif said during his US visit in July 1999 amid Kargil conflict, he had clearly told then President Bill Clinton that if the US intervened, Kashmir issue could be resolved.
“I told him if he spends 10 per cent of the time he was spending on Middle East, the Kashmir issue between two countries would resolve,” he said, adding that President Clinton promised, but then things changed.
Even though Pakistan is keen that US intervenes, Washington has repeatedly said that India and Pakistan should determine the “pace, scope and character” of their dialogue.
Mr. Sharif said for the last 60 years both sides were entangled in an arms race. “The situation can become dangerous. India has nuclear bomb, so do we; India develops missiles, so do we. There should be a limit to it. We all should think about it,” he was quoted as saying.
The Prime Minister also said he will raise the issue of US drone strikes during his meeting with Mr. Obama.
“Pakistan raised its concern in UNGA meeting, and the world appreciated it. Again in my official visit to US I will reiterate the same message,” he said.
Key bilateral issues besides the Afghan drawdown and Indo-Pak ties are likely to be discussed during his keenly awaited meeting with Mr. Obama.
This will be the first bilateral official visit of the Prime Minister to the US in his present term.
It is also the first official visit of a Pakistani Prime Minister to the US in 5 years. Sharif had visited New York last month but it was for the UN General Assembly.