NEW YORK - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived here on Sunday to address the 71st annual session of the United Nations' General Assembly which was opened on September 13 at the magnificent building of the UN Headquarters. This would be Nawaz Sharif's fourth address to the UNGA during his three Premiership terms.

Premier Sharif has a hectic agenda ahead as he would be holding 11 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN session to which he will address in the afternoon of Sept 21.

During these bilateral meetings he would exchange views on international, regional and bilateral issues but his focus would remain on fast deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir where Indian troops have unleashed brutal atrocities against unarmed innocent Muslims struggling for liberation.

Those who the prime minister would be meeting include Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad Bin Naïf, Iranian President Hassan Rohani, prime ministers of Japan, New Zealand and Nepal, Turkish president and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He would also have an informal interaction with US President Barack Obama during a summit-level meeting on the plight of refugees being held on Sept 19 (Monday).

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not attending the UNGA session, Nawaz Sharif will have a clear advantage to vigorously apprise the world leaders on unprecedented and untold miseries of the Kashmiri people now being subjected to consistent curfew for well over 55 days.

The Indian delegation is being headed by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is set to deliver her speech on Sept 26 after the address of PM Sharif.

Last year while addressing the world community in this UN building, Nawaz Sharif reminded the global forum of not fulfilling the pledges it made over 65 years ago for ensuring the Kashmiri people their right to self-determination through a UN-supervised plebiscite so that they could choose to stay with India or Pakistan.

Premier Nawaz has written two letters to the UN Secretary General to take notice of the Indian crimes in occupied Kashmir by its violent troops who were using palate guns. In his last year speech at the UNGA, he presented a four-point agenda to his Indian counterpart leading to the lasting peace in Occupied Valley as well as in South Asia.

According to informed diplomatic sources, there is a strong possibility that Nawaz Sharif may make a serious and sincere effort for rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, taking advantage of the presence of two top leaders from hostile Muslim countries in New York. It may be recalled that Premier Sharif along with COAS General Raheel Sharif had made a similar attempt after the start of armed conflict in Yemen.

When asked, these sources confided to The Nation that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may join this effort since Turkey is second Muslim state that enjoys equally good relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Maleeha Lodhi was seen making frantic efforts to organise vital bilateral meetings of the PM with leaders of important friendly countries. Foreign Secretary Azaz Ahmed Chaudhry had joined her on Saturday to further these efforts. PM’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatmi is accompanying the prime minister while Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz would be arriving here tomorrow.

The prime minister will thank the New Zealand Premier for opposing the Indian move to secure membership of Nuclear Supply Group.

PM Nawaz would also update his Chinese counterpart Keqiang on the progress on CPEC.

The prime minister will have three speech opportunities, addressing the United Nations' General Assembly session on Monday; he would then attend the UN special meeting on the plight of refugees.

The UNGA is hosting a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach. This is the first time the General Assembly has called for a summit at the Heads of State and Government level on this subject and it is a historic opportunity to come up with a blueprint for a better international response. It is a watershed moment to strengthen governance of international migration and a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

The second issue the meeting would be taking up is the Syrian conflict, which is now in its sixth year and has already claimed over 300,000 lives.

Against a backdrop of rising ethnic and religious tensions, fighting in the Mideast and Africa, extremist attacks across the world and a warming planet, there are plenty of other issues for the 135 heads of state and government and more than 50 ministers that they are expected to attend to and try to tackle.

"It's no secret there's a lot of fear out there, and the uncertainties sparked by Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the threat posed by the ISIS extremist group, and attacks in many parts of the world by it and other terrorist groups.

US President Barack Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis on the margins of UNGA 71 on September 20 to galvanise significant new global commitments to increase funding to humanitarian appeals and international organisations and admit more refugees through resettlement or other legal pathways.

The summit calls upon participants to increase refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work. While speaking on this occasion, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would also highlight the issue of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and his government’s resolve to handle the situation according to the UN Charter.

The theme of the General Assembly debate is "The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world", as was announced by the newly-elected President of the United Nations, Peter Thomson in August.