Address by the Foreign Minister of  the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the  54th Session of the UN General Assembly, on 22nd September 1999.

Mr. President,

It is an honour to address this General Assembly, the last to be held in the twentieth century.

2.  We congratulate you most sincerely on your well deserved election to preside over this historic session. It is also a tribute to your great country, Namibia, with whom Pakistan enjoys relations of close friendship and cooperation.

Mr. President,

3.  The twentieth century has been described as the Age of Extremes. In this century, human civilization made quantum strides in progress and prosperity. We discovered the ocean depths, traveled into the outer space and landed on the moon. We have witnessed the technological and information revolutions transforming the wide world into a global village.

4.  The twentieth century was also a violent and tragic century. Millions died in the two World Wars and hundreds of other conflicts.  Millions perished as a result of poverty and disease.

5.  This Assembly offers an opportunity to identify the major global challenges which humankind is likely to confront in the twenty-first century. The next one year should be devoted by the United Nations to evolve the ways and means to address these challenges and promote an agreed approach at the Millennium Assembly.

Mr. President,

6.  Peace remains the foremost challenge of our times. The end of the Cold War, and the triumph of the principles of democracy and free markets, created hope for the dawn of universal peace. This turned out to be elusive. Instead, conflicts have continued to ravage the world.

7.  Long suppressed national aspirations, as well as frustration with continuing inequity and deprivation, have led to wide- spread violence and wars, among and within states. The several conflicts afflicting Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus as well as Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan are painful reminders of the ascendance of war and the absence of peace.

8.  The United Nations, under the wise leadership of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has endeavoured to cope with these conflicts and crises.  Unilateral approaches, accompanying the centralization of global influence, have not always assured just and durable solutions to complex problems rooted in history, religion, politics and economics in various parts of the world.

Mr. President,

9.  In the final and  decisive confrontation of the Cold War, one and a half million Afghans were killed, a million were maimed, and a whole country destroyed. Ten years after the foreign intervention ended, almost three million Afghan refugees are still in Pakistan and Iran. With no reconstruction and no development in this poor country, the new generation knows nothing but war.  Rehabilitation and reconstruction is the right of the valiant Afghan people. Economic development, accompanied by education and modernization, is the best way to end violence, promote human rights  and improve social conditions in Afghanistan.

10.  Peace in Afghanistan is vital for Pakistan. Turmoil in Afghanistan creates turbulence on our frontier. The preservation of Afghanistan's territorial integrity is pivotal for peace and stability throughout Central Asia. Peace in Afghanistan will open vast opportunities for commerce and economic interaction between Central Asia and South Asia and beyond.

11.  Pakistan has persisted in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We support the U.N. efforts as well as the Six Plus Two process.  Pakistan is constantly endeavouring to bring about an end to the fighting and promote reconciliation and political accommodation between the Taliban Government and the Northern Alliance.

Mr. President,

12.  The world has welcomed the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East.  We earnestly hope that it will proceed smoothly to culminate in the establishment of a just and durable peace based on the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to their own sb tate, and withdrawal of Israel from the Syrian Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon.

Mr. President,

13.  We are glad that the tension between morality and legality has been overcome in Kosovo. We are happy the Kosovar refugees have returned home. Yet, Kosovo's travails are not over.  Pakistan will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations for peace in the Balkans.

14.  In East Timor, we trust that the human tragedy has ended, even as the United Nations peacekeepers arrive there. I wish to pay tribute to Secretary General Kofi Annan and my compatriot, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, who were greatly challenged in the process of fostering freedom in East Timor while safeguarding stability.

15.  We have learnt valuable lessons from Kosovo and East Timor. These are:

  - a people's aspiration for freedom cannot be suppressed indefinitely;

  - a free exercise of the right of self-determination is indispensable for peace;

  - self-determination can be best exercised in an environment free of fear and coercion;

  - the United Nations is best placed to oversee the exercise of self-determination.

Mr. President,

16.  These conclusions were already accepted for Kashmir 50 years ago. The UN Security Council decided that the final disposition of the disputed State would be determined by its people, in a free and impartial plebiscite held under UN auspices. India resiled from its acceptance of this agreement and its own pledge to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their own future.  On one pretext or another, it refused to implement the provisions of the Security Council Resolutions.

17.  India's repression in Jammu & Kashmir has killed thousands of Kashmiris, forced hundreds of thousands into exile, led to three wars between Pakistan and India, and consigned the two countries to a relationship of endemic conflict and mistrust.

18.  Pakistan and India can and must overcome this unfortunate legacy. To this end, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, soon after assuming office two and a half years ago, proposed the initiation of a comprehensive, structured and sustained dialogue between Pakistan and India to address Kashmir, peace and security and other outstanding issues. India agreed, after one year, to a dialogue on Kashmir.

19.  To provide political momentum to the bilateral dialogue, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invited Prime Minister Vajpayee to visit Pakistan. At the Lahore Summit, Pakistan and India committed themselves to intensify their efforts to resolve Kashmir, build mutual confidence and peace and pave the way for broader cooperation. In Lahore, the Pakistan Prime Minister urged his Indian  counterpart to ease the repression in Kashmir. He cautioned that, without progress on Kashmir, political dynamics could compromise the good intentions reflected in the Lahore Declaration.

20. But, India displayed no desire to genuinely address, let alone resolve the Kashmir dispute.  Its cruel repression of the Kashmiri people continued unabated.
Mr. President,

21.  The Kargil crisis was a manifestation of the deeper malaise spawned by the unresolved Kashmir problem and India's escalating repression of the Kashmiri people.  India launched a massive military operation in Kargil and threatened a wider conflict by mobilizing its armed forces all along the Pakistan-India international border.  Pakistan acted with restraint. We believed that war between two nuclear armed neighbours must be avoided. We offered immediate de-escalation and negotiations to address problems along the Line of Control including India's violations of this Line and occupation of Chorbatla, Siachen and Qamar.  Pakistan's efforts led to the disengagement by the Kashmiri freedom fighters from the Kargil heights and offered a renewed opportunity for negotiation and dialogue.

22.  Pakistan is ready for the resumption of the Lahore process with India. However, instead of reciprocating Pakistan's willingness to pursue negotiations, India has posed pre-conditions for resuming the talks. It has heightened tensions. The Indian military deliberately shot down an unarmed Pakistan naval aircraft on a routine flight within our airspace, killing 16 of our naval personnel, mostly young  trainees, in cold-blood and without any warning. India is also continuing hostilities along the Line of Control and has repeatedly launched attacks across the Line in several sectors.  To ease such tensions on the Line of Control, the United Nations Military Observer Group should station an expanded number of observers on both sides  of the Line of Control.

23.  Kashmir is not a dispute over land; it is about the destiny of a people; it is about implementation of the resolutions of the Security Council; it is about respect for the fundamental rights of the Kashmiri people, especially their right to self-determination. The complete boycott by the Kashmiris of the sham elections in Kashmir organized by India earlier this month is a clear testimony of their total alienation from India. No settlement can be durable if it is contrary to their wishes.

Mr. President,

24.  The Kashmir issue cannot be frozen, while its people are determined to secure their freedom; while the blood of Kashmiri martyrs is being shed by the bullets and bayonets of the 700,000 strong Indian occupation force. Human rights must be upheld - not only in Kosovo and Timor - but also in Kashmir.  To make progress towards a settlement, the world must demand that India take immediate steps to halt its repression of the Kashmiri people. India must:-

  one,  Stop the cruel "crackdowns" against Kashmiri villages and urban areas.

  two,  Release the thousands of Kashmiris held in detention centres and jails.

  three, Remove military pickets and troops stationed in Kashmiri towns and villages.

  four,  Allow the presence of international human rights organizations in Kashmir.

  five,  Agree to the stationing of impartial human rights monitors in Jammu & Kashmir.

  six,  Entrust the ICRC with a larger role in Kashmir  including the provision of relief and help to the thousands of Kashmiri widows and orphans.
  seven, Agree to a progressive reduction of the 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Kashmir.

Mr. President,

25.  The international community is increasingly conscious of the imperative for a just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.  The risk of a wider conflict in a nuclear environment is fraught with serious dangers not only for the peace and stability of South Asia but the entire world.  Kashmir remains on the Security Council's agenda.   The Council's resolutions are still to be implemented. The promise of self-determination made by the United Nations to the Kashmiri people remains to be fulfilled.  Therefore, while we will, hopefully, soon resume bilateral talks with India,   Pakistan would welcome the association of the true  representatives of the Kashmiri people in promoting a solution consistent with the UN Security Council resolutions.

Mr. President,

26.  India's ambitions threaten to further propel our region towards a dangerous nuclear and conventional arms race. For decades, even after India's first nuclear explosion in 1974, Pakistan sought to exclude nuclear weapons from South Asia.  Ironically, the advocates of non-proliferation imposed discriminatory restrictions against Pakistan, while ignoring India's steady development of nuclear and missile capabilities.

27.  Last May, India put the final nail in the coffin of South Asian non-proliferation when it conducted five nuclear tests and declared itself a nuclear weapon state.  Its leaders then proceeded to threaten Pakistan. Confronted by an aggressive nuclear India, Pakistan was obliged to demonstrate its nuclear capability and thus  restore nuclear deterrence and strategic balance in South Asia. The response of the major powers, to penalize not only the offender but also the victim, was patently unfair.

28.  Even after our tests, Pakistan proposed nuclear restraint to

India - consistent with our conviction that nuclear deterrence can and should be maintained between Pakistan and India at the lowest possible level. In our separate dialogues with the United States and India we proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime outlining specific measures for nuclear restraint and stabilization, conventional arms balance and the resolution of outstanding disputes.

29.  Hopes for restraint have been shattered by the announcement of India's "nuclear doctrine" -- setting out plans to acquire and operationally deploy a huge arsenal of land, air and sea-based nuclear weapons and to further build up its conventional forces, almost all of which are deployed against Pakistan. Even the Indian  "offer" of non-first use of nuclear weapons is designed to gain acceptance as a nuclear weapon state and to justify the acquisition of a massive nuclear arsenal as a "second-strike" capability.

30.  India's pursuit of this doctrine will destabilize South Asia. Pakistan will be compelled to enhance its nuclear and missile capabilities and operational readiness to preserve deterrence. India may test again to develop warheads for its missiles. This would subvert the CTBT. India's quest for its large nuclear arsenal could jeopardize prospects for the conclusion of a Fissile Material Treaty. India's ambitions threaten peace and stability not only in South Asia but also in adjacent regions, including the Gulf and the sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean.

31.  The international community must act -- and it must act immediately -- if it is to avoid a hair-trigger security environment in South Asia, with grave implications for global peace, security and disarmament.  To this end, this Assembly should endorse the concept of strategic restraint in South Asia. It should also urge India to:

  one,  disavow the proposed nuclear doctrine;

  two,  refrain from any further nuclear tests and adhere to the CTBT.  For its part, Pakistan remains committed to adhering to the CTBT in an atmosphere free of coercion;

  three, undertake not to operationally deploy nuclear weapons on land, air or sea;

  four,  open negotiations with Pakistan for an agreement to achieve balance in fissile material stocks, while both India and Pakistan participate in the Fissile Material Treaty negotiations expected to commence early next year in Geneva;

 five,   eschew the acquisition of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and any military-related capabilities in Space; and

 six,   Cut-back drastically on its plans to purchase and develop various advanced and destabilizing conventional weapons systems.  In this context, Pakistan appeals to those countries which intend to supply these conventional weapons to India to reconsider their policies.

Mr. President,

32.  Pakistan believes that it is now essential to convene a Conference, with the participation of all the permanent members of the Security Council, and other interested major powers, as well as Pakistan and India, to promote the goals of strategic restraint and stability in South Asia.

Mr. President,

33.  The threat of nuclear war does not emanate only from South Asia. Although the strategic confrontation of the Cold War is over, the major nuclear powers, even while pressing for non-proliferation by others, have asserted their own right to possess nuclear weapons indefinitely. The implementation of strategic arms reduction agreements is stalled. If the ABM Treaty is rescinded or revised, and missile defence plans are implemented, the nuclear arms race may well be revived between the nuclear weapon States. And, heightened tensions among them, over new or old disputes, could once again move the nuclear doomsday clock closer to midnight.

34.  Pakistan supports the endeavours to achieve nuclear disarmament and the early elimination of all nuclear weapons. Multilateral negotiations can evolve agreed plans to realize these vital objectives. We also support the call for preserving the ABM Treaty and avoiding the development and deployment of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. Negotiations to prevent the further militarization of Outer Space should be initiated forthwith in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament.

Mr. President,

35.   In a globalized yet divided world, with modern weaponry and communications available to almost everyone, terrorism has emerged as a pervasive challenge in many parts of the world. It is a complex phenomenon with many manifestations; a lethal tool used by ruthless individuals, groups and states.

36.  Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever it occurs. For a decade, during the Afghan war, Pakistan was the single largest target of terrorism from across our borders. Even today, our adversaries foment fear in Pakistani cities by sponsoring and financing terrorist bomb blasts and random violence.  Our eastern neighbour has mastered the black art of state terrorism in Kashmir, utilizing the tactics of "crackdowns", custodial killings, disappearances, arson, torture and rape, as tools of repression against the Kashmiri people's struggle for freedom and self-determination. It is with good reason that the Non-Aligned countries have denounced the repression of peoples under foreign occupation as "the worst form of terrorism".

37.  Pakistan condemns the reprehensible tendency in certain quarters to link manifestations of terrorism with Islam. We welcome the resolution adopted earlier this year by the Commission on Human Rights which denounced attempts, including in the media, to defame Islam and link it with terrorism.

Mr. President,

38.  Free markets and free political systems, accompanied by breath-taking technological advances, are rapidly integrating our world across frontiers and continents. Unfortunately, most developing countries have been bypassed by the benefits of globalization. Income inequality has increased among and within countries. And, as the Asian financial crisis showed, growth has often been fragile.

39.  Market forces alone will not yield an equitable economic outcome for all peoples. At UNCTAD X and other international conferences, we need to rethink current development strategies and formulate new approaches for broad-based development, guided by the need for economic equity for individuals and nations. Action is required in three main areas:

  First, in Trade. We need a truly level playing field to ensure greater balance in the benefits of a rules-based multilateral trading system for the developing countries. The WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle can advance this goal by resolving problems involved in the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements on textiles and agriculture, addressing priority issues for developing countries in future negotiations and not by insisting on premature liberalization in sectors where they are unable to compete. In Seattle, we must also oppose the forces of protectionism disguised as movements to promote environmental and social standards.

  Second, in Finance. We need a more stable financial order which can control the volatility of capital flows, make available adequate liquidity, especially for developing countries, alleviates their debt burden, and ensure coherence between global financial and trade policies. The high level "Event" on Financing for Development could help to build agreements on these issues.

  Third, in Technology. In an increasingly knowledge - based global economy, the technology and knowledge gap between the developed and developing countries must be rapidly narrowed. To this end, it would be useful to evolve global principles and guidelines for access to and transfer of technology.

Mr. President,

40.  In our globalizing yet fractured world, marked by stark contrasts between prosperity and poverty, between tranquility and turbulence, the hopes of hundreds of millions of people are reposed in the United Nations. It is the most universal global institution. The United Nations must play its role prescribed in the Charter, as the centre for the harmonization of the policies of Member States and as the central instrument for collective security. The Security Council's composition should be made more representative, and its procedures more transparent and democratic, to reflect the collective views and interests of all Member States.  We continue to oppose the creation of new centres of privilege.

41.  This Assembly must also agree on the objectives and principles, the approaches and instruments, which will enable the international community to respond to the emerging challenges posed by conflicts, arms proliferation, and unequal globalization. It is here, at the United Nations, that we must seek consistent respect for the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, and respect for its binding decisions.  Only thus can we realize the vision of peace and prosperity for all peoples in a global environment of freedom and democracy.

 I thank you, Mr. President.

For further information please contact:
Pakistan Mission, 8 East 65th Street, New York NY 10021.
Tel: (212) 879.8600 or E-Mail: [email protected]