Pak wants peaceful ties with India, prez says but rakes up Kashmir issue in 1st Parliament speech

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Islamabad, Sept 17 (PTI): Pakistan wants peaceful relations with India on the basis of “mutual co-existence”, new President Arif Alvi said Monday but raked up the Kashmir issue in his first address to the joint session of Parliament, saying Kashmiris have a right to “self-determination”.
Alvi pledged support for the people of Kashmir and said that Pakistan will make efforts at every level to resolve the issue according to the UN resolutions.
Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament to mark the beginning of the new parliamentary year, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s “moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people”.
He stressed that the resolution of the Kashmir dispute is essential to have an enduring relationship between Pakistan and India.
“Blame game brings no solution to any dispute,” he said. The president said denying the Kashmiris the “right of self-determination” is condemnable and urged the international community to play its role.
He also said it was important to resolve and improve ties between India and Pakistan, and emphasised that Pakistan desired peaceful and good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of mutual co-existence.
The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place. The ties between the two countries had strained after the terror attacks in India by Pakistan-based groups in 2016.
Pakistan wanted cordial relations with all countries particularly, the neighbours and Muslim countries, Alvi said. The opposition parties led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz staged a walk out as the president began his speech.
The joint session was the first formal session of the National Assembly (NA), the lower house of Parliament. The president has to address a joint session of Parliament at the beginning of the first session of the NA to start the parliamentary year, according to the Constitution.
The session was scheduled on September 13 but postponed for September 17 due to the demise of former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz.

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