Sharif arrives in US to attend UNGA with Kashmir on agenda


With Kashmir high on his agenda Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in New York on Sunday to lead the Pakistani delegation to the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where he would enunciate Islamabad's position on key global and regional issues before one of the largest gatherings of leaders from around the world.

He was received at New York's Kennedy International Airport by Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, the Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani and senior officials of the Pakistani Mission.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's delegation includes Tariq Fatemi Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told reporters that the prime minister would go through a tight schedule including addressing the 193-member Assembly on September 21 and meeting at least ten world leaders among other activities.

He said the prime minister would specifically focus on the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir particularly the "continuing grave violations of human rights" taking place there.

The foreign secretary said the prime minister would call on the international community and the United Nations to live up to their promise of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

According to a PM House statement on the sidelines of the UNGA, the Prime Minister would hold bilateral meetings with president of Iran, prime ministers of Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Nepal, Romania and UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon.

US Secretary of State John Kerry would also call on the Prime Minister.

US to deploy 'bigger than ever' security for UNGA

New York City will deploy "bigger than ever" police presence during the UN General Assembly week after an explosion injured 29 on Saturday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.

"You will see a very substantial NYPD presence this week, bigger than ever," de Blasio told reporters at a press conference on the explosion, Xinhua reported.

Police officers will be deployed in force in key public locations around the United Nations headquarters and the Times Square, including the newer units of Critical Response Command and Strategic Response Group, said de Blasio.

The city will also see an increased bag search and canine activities throughout the mass transit systems, said city officials.

At the press conference, the mayor said all 29 people wounded in Saturday's blast were released from hospitals and the motivation behind the explosion remains unknown.

He termed the Saturday blast "a very serious incident", saying a lot more work needs to be done to find out the motivation behind the blast.

He called the blast an "intentional" and "criminal" act. However, he declined to call the blast a terrorist attack. "We'll not jump to conclusions," he said.

A second explosive device was found a few blocks near the explosion site.

The mayor noted there was no specific and credible threat against the city, calling for the vigilance of New Yorkers and asked for tips and information from the public.

He also said there was no specific evidence of connection between the New York explosion and a New Jersey pipe bomb blast, which happened on Saturday along the route of a Marines charity run, causing no injuries or damage.

Meanwhile, New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at the press conference that no one has claimed responsibility for the New York explosion, which he categorised as a "violent criminal act".

City officials confirmed that the explosion in the popular Chelsea neighborhood was caused by a bomb with "components indicative of an IED", not an accident.

New York police are beefing up extra security at bus terminals, airports and on subways in the city for the UN General Assembly week.

In an earlier press briefing, New York State Governer Andrew Cuomo also said the state will be deploying an additional 1,000 state troopers and members of the National Guard throughout New York City.

The suspects and motives were still unknown, and investigations were still in early stages, according to city officials.

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