Foreign Office spokesperson tells news agency any future talks with India must ‘primarily’ focus on resolution of Kashmir dispute
Pakistan is effectively highlighting the plight of people living in India-held Kashmir on a global level with an emphasis on the legal, humanitarian and security dimensions of the dispute, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said on Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists of news agency Associated Press of Pakistan, he stressed that Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir had not changed for 70 years, while India had deviated from its position multiple times, including violating United Nations Security Council resolutions in unilaterally abrogating the special constitutional status of the disputed region.
To a question, he said Pakistan was ready for dialogue with India but added that this would require Delhi to create an enabling environment that “primarily” focused on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. He also dismissed the impression that making resolution of the Kashmir issue conditional for talks would result in deadlock, claiming it was essential to protect the rights of Kashmiris.
“Pakistan will take every possible step to save the lives of innocent Kashmiris suffering unabated violence in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding that even though ties between the neighboring nations had always been “difficult,” Islamabad still desired peaceful relations with all countries. The recommitment to the 2003 ceasefire agreement was one such step toward peace and stability, he said, adding it was aimed at resolving all core issues, including Kashmir.
On Pakistan’s attempt to balance its ties with the U.S. and China while ties between the two superpowers continue to deteriorate, the spokesperson said Islamabad’s relations with one country should not come at the cost of its ties with another. He stressed that Pakistan and the U.S. had convergence on several issues, including Afghanistan, climate change, regional stability, and the economy. With China, he said, it was a “partnership based on trust and communities.”
He emphasized that Pakistan’s ties with both countries were independent of each other and all decisions regarding bilateral ties would be in the national interest.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire for regional economic integration, he said Pakistan’s relations with Russia had witnessed a “shift” with the inauguration of a gas pipeline project.