Home Latest News No Change in Pakistan’s Policy on India: Foreign Office

No Change in Pakistan’s Policy on India: Foreign Office

In statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs says foreign minister’s remarks on Pak-Indo ties being ‘portrayed incorrectly’

by Newsweek Pakistan
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

File photo

The Foreign Office on Friday said that there was no change to Pakistan’s policy on India, adding that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks on Pak-Indo ties during an address at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad were “being interpreted out of context and portrayed incorrectly.”

In a speech at ISSI, the foreign minister had cited India and the United States as countries with which Pakistan’s relations remained problematic. Stressing that India must be engaged with, he had reiterated that Islamabad needed to move toward economic diplomacy. He had also said that it was not in Pakistan’s interest to remain disengaged from its neighbor, noting that this had allowed Delhi to unilaterally abrogate the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The speech had, predictably, drawn the criticism of leaders of the ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government, who have consistently claimed that the incumbent government is backed by Western powers and would act on their direction.

“Pakistan has always desired cooperative relations with all its neighbors, including India,” read the Foreign Office statement. “We have consistently advocated constructive engagement and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” it said, adding that India’s “unabated hostility and retrogressive steps” had hampered prospects for peace and the onus was on Delhi to take the necessary steps to create an enabling environment conducive for meaningful and result-oriented dialogue.

“The foreign minister clearly articulated this perspective, referring to India’s illegal and unilateral actions in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir since Aug. 5, 2019, describing them as an assault on the rights of the Kashmiri people, as well as rising Islamophobia in India, that created an environment unconducive for meaningful engagement,” it said, emphasizing that Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks were better understood in the “overall context” of his wider message for conflict resolution that he had emphasized during his address at the ISSI.

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