Wednesday October 27, 2021

Ready for talks if India ensures enabling environment: FO

August 11, 2021
Ready for talks if India ensures enabling environment: FO

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri Tuesday said Pakistan was ready to hold talks with India, provided it ensured an enabling environment that “primarily” focused on resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The FO spokesperson dismissed the impression that making the Kashmir dispute conditional for resumption of talks with India would lead to a deadlock, as the human rights crisis had worsened in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

“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 told reporters in response to their queries on the foreign policy narrative, at the APP Headquarters.

He said the relationship between Pakistan and India had always been “difficult”; however, he stressed that Pakistan desired “peaceful relations with all countries, including India”. He mentioned in this regard Pakistan’s re-commitment to the 2003 ceasefire arrangement at the Line of Control (LoC) with India in February, terming it a step towards peace and stability, aimed at the resolution of core issues, including Kashmir.

Zahid Chaudhri said Pakistan was effectively highlighting at international level, three dimensions of the Kashmir dispute — legal, humanitarian and security.

“Seventy years on, Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir remains consistent; however, India, for multiple times, deviated from its position – from denying its pledge with the United Nations Security Council to the latest unilateral and illegal step of August 5, 2019,” he said.

He highlighted India’s involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan, to which he said, Pakistan shared with the international community a dossier with evidence. However, India continued with its approach to blame Pakistan without any solid proof, he added.

On balancing relations with the United States and China, he said “our relations with one country should not be seen at the cost of another country”. He said Pakistan enjoyed convergence of views with the US on matters including Afghanistan, climate change, region and economy.

With China, he said, it was not merely a relationship, but a “partnership based on trust and communities”. “We have stand-alone relations with both countries, but our decisions in any case will be made in the best national interest,” he said. Pursuing the vision of regional economic integration, he said Pakistan’s relations with Russia had witnessed a “shift” with a mega Pak Stream gas pipeline project in the offing.

Asked on alternative routes to Central Asia through other countries including Iran, he said the factors such as political will, economic dimension and security situation would be decisive in this regard.

Terming the Foreign Office and APP “partners”, he lauded the professionalism of the news agency in effectively highlighting the national narrative on foreign policy and acting as a powerful tool to counter disinformation.