Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif raises Kashmir issue in inaugural speech

Pakistan’s prime minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks at the national assembly, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 11, 2022. Photo: Reuters

In his inaugural address after securing a second term as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif addressed the National Assembly, emphasizing the need for a resolution to the longstanding issues faced by the people of Kashmir and Palestine. Despite expectations that his elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, would play a key role in government decisions, Shehbaz Sharif wasted no time bringing the Kashmir dispute to the forefront.

“Let’s all come together and the National Assembly should pass a resolution for the freedom of Kashmiris and Palestinians,” he said in his speech on Sunday.

“We will keep ties with neighbours on the basis of equality,” Shehbaz said as he easily won the election in the National Assembly to become Pakistan’s prime minister for a second time.

Currently, junior foreign service officials from Pakistan are serving as charge d’affaires at Pakistan High Commission in India, a status maintained since 2019 following Pakistan’s decision to recall its high commissioner after the abrogation of Article 370.

Shehbaz also talked about Pakistan’s weak economy, saying it was the main cause of its problems. He said that the nation was dealing with a fiscal deficit exceeding one trillion rupees at the beginning of his term.

“How we will pay the salaries for armed forces and how to pay the civil servants,” he wondered and added that reforming the economy was the biggest challenge faced by the country.