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Friday May 24, 2024

PM Shehbaz offers talks to India on disputes including Kashmir

PM Shehbaz offered the Indian leadership, particularly PM Narendra Modi, serious and sincere conditional talks to resolve all the burning issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir

By Muhammad Anis
January 18, 2023
PM Shehbaz Sharif speaking to the Al Arabiya news channel on January 17, 2023. Screengrab of the news channel.
PM Shehbaz Sharif speaking to the Al Arabiya news channel on January 17, 2023. Screengrab of the news channel.

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister has offered the Indian leadership, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi, serious and sincere conditional talks to resolve all the burning issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Modi is that let us sit down and have serious and sincere talks to resolve all our burning issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir,” the prime minister in his interview with the Al Arabiya news channel said.

Later, the spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has repeatedly stated on record that talks between Pakistan and India could only take place after India reverses its illegal action of August 5, 2019 and without India’s revocation of this step, negotiations were not possible.

On the prime minister’s interview to Al Arabiya channel, the spokesman said the prime minister had consistently maintained that Pakistan and India must resolve their bilateral issues, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue and peaceful means.

He said the settlement of the Kashmir dispute must be in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The spokesman said the prime minister made this position very clear in his interview with the Al Arabiya news channel during his recent visit to the UAE.

In the interview, the prime minister asked India to stop massive human rights violations being committed by New Delhi in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. It will give a message to global community that India was ready for dialogue to resolve the issues, he said.

The prime minister, while referring to flagrant human rights violations, said the neighbouring country had usurped any semblance of autonomy given to the Kashmiris according to Article 370 of Indian Constitution and revoked the same in August 2019.

Pointing out that minorities in India were being persecuted, the prime minister said the same must be stopped so that the message goes around the globe that India was ready for talks.

Shehbaz Sharif further said that it was also up to the two countries that they should live with peace like good neighbours or continue the quarrel.

“It is up to us to live peacefully and make progress or quarrel with each while wasting time and resources,” the prime minister said adding that Pakistan had three wars with India which only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment. He said the countries had learnt the lesson and wanted to live in peace provided genuine problems were resolved.

“We want to alleviate poverty, achieve prosperity, and provide education and health facilities and employment to our people and not waste our resources on bombs and ammunition and the same message I want to give to Prime Minister Modi,” he said.

He said that both countries were nuclear powers and armed to teeth and God forbids, if a war starts, who will be alive to tell as to what happened.

To a question, the prime minister said the survival of the world was in co-existence saying that tensions in Eastern Europe had devastated the entire world in terms of economy. He said Pakistan could hardly import commodities, fertilisers and oil due to this tension.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan has lasting, friendly and brotherly relations with the Gulf countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and we look forward to transforming these relations into strategic partnership.

He said the UAE was the second home for millions of Pakistanis and Pakistan was grateful to the leadership of the UAE for this gesture.

About his recent visit to the United Arab Emirates, the prime minister said it was one of the most successful trips.

“We have relations with the UAE and other Gulf countries, based on mutual trust, respect, culture and on the basis of these relations, Pakistan and leadership of Gulf countries should have the resolve to cooperate with each other within the framework of trade, investment, culture and promote Islam as the religion of peace and tranquillity that shuns all kinds of terrorism and extremism,” he observed.