Vidya Ram

No support for independent Kashmir: Pakistani PM

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 09, 2018

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi   -  REUTERS

Says Pakistan is a country fighting terror for the world

There is no support for an independent Kashmir on the ground in either part of Kashmir, or within the Kashmiri diaspora in both India and Pakistan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi insisted, as he rejected the concept of this as a solution for the region at an event at the London School of Economics at the weekend, at which he provided an overview of his perspective on issues ranging from relations with India, the US and China to the state of military-civilian government relations in the country.

“This is something floated often but has no basis in reality,” he told students gathered at the Future of Pakistan Conference at the LSE over the weekend, organised by the student union’s Pakistan Development Society, adding that the solution lay in determination by the people of Kashmir.

As long as the issue of Kashmir remained unresolved, relations with India would remain “tense” and progress could only be made on a secondary level, he said. “We are always open to talks - talks at any level and we believe that talks are the way forward and only talks will resolve the situation…war is not an option there.”

“Every large issue, similar issue that the world has had has been resolved through negotiations… both countries have nuclear weapons…India has developed a new doctrine that has added a new dimension…talks are the only way forward.”

However with elections round the corner in the next couple of years in both countries, any expectation of a “great initiative” to take the situation forward was “misplaced” he said.

During his speech and question and answer session with students, Mr. Abbasi sought to play down the significance for Pakistan of the US new Afghan policy, insisting that Pakistan had strong relations with the US, Afghanistan, and China over the past 70 years and that its relationship with the US shouldn’t be seen entirely through the prism of Afghanistan. “We have engaged the US after [that statement] we have discussed issues at various levels…there is a greater understanding of Pakistan’s role and that relationship will move forward.”

Totally wrong

He rejected the notion of Pakistani safe havens for terrorism, insisting there were sanctuaries in Afghanistan for attacks in the opposite direction. “Many believe terror emanates from Pakistan - that’s a narrative that is totally wrong,” he insisted. “Pakistan is a country fighting terror for the world....today we have to get rid of this menace and we are committed to fighting that menace.”

Published on November 06, 2017

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