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January 15, 2020

Dialogue with India impossible with current IOK situation: Qureshi

National

January 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in the Senate on Tuesday that Pakistan had a very difficult relationship with India, rooted in history with many outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

During the question hour, in a written reply to a question by Senator Abdul Rehman Malik, the minister said the dialogue process between Pakistan and India was suspended unilaterally by India in 2013 in the backdrop of hostilities across the LoC, and remained on hold.

“Currently relations remain tense between Pakistan and India after India’s illegal actions of August 05, 2019, seeking to unilaterally alter the internationally recognised status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and to change its demographic structure. Relations between the two countries have been downgraded,” he noted.

He asserted no dialogue was possible with India with the current situation in IOK while Pakistan continued to highlight the plight of the innocent Kashmiris and stressed the fact that peace would remain elusive in South Asia until the resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the relevant UNSC resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiris. He said no dialogue was possible with India with the current situation in IOK.

“Pakistan had no desire to escalate the situation and had reacted with maximum restraint. However, the Indian belligerent attitude was a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation. Our armed forces are committed and prepared to respond to any aggression and give a befitting reply to any threat to the motherland,” he maintained.

In reply to another question by Senator Bahramand Tangi, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said there were a total of 138 toll plazas on the national network and then explained the procedure of awarding toll plazas to which Senator Tangi did not agree. He expressed total dissatisfaction and urged for referral of the matter to the House standing committee concerned.

The House was informed that around 2-3 percent of GDP was lost due to malnutrition in Pakistan as per an earlier report by the World Bank, which had been acknowledged in the government.

The Senate was told that the government had also initiated large-scale food fortification in Pakistan and at present, the fortification was targeting three of the staple food items used in Pakistan.

Shah Mehmood said to another question that Pakistani mission in Saudi Arabia were actively pursuing the release of Pakistan prisoners, as announced during the visit of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in February 2019 and a total of 2,080 prisoners had been released so far while total number of Pakistani prisoners there was around 3,000.