• Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Imran Khan urges India to reciprocate as his country ‘did everything for better ties’

Imran Khan (left) and Narendra Modi

By: Pramod Thomas

PAKISTAN prime minister Imran Khan has said that his government, after coming to power in 2018, did everything for better ties with India and it was for India to reciprocate.

While delivering the inaugural address at the launch of the two-day Islamabad security dialogue, Khan added that India would reap economic benefits by having peace with Pakistan as it will be able to directly access resource-rich Central Asia through it.

“India will have to take the first step. Unless they do so, we cannot do much. The unresolved Kashmir issue was the biggest hurdle between the two countries,” he said.

“If India gives the Kashmiris their right under the UN (resolutions), it will be greatly beneficial for Pakistan as well as for India. It can access Central Asia after peace.”

Central Asia generally includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

India last month said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. It also told Pakistan that ‘talks and terror’ cannot go together and has asked Islamabad to take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks in the country.

Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcating it into two Union territories in August, 2019.

India has told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution was its internal matter. The ministry of external affairs has also underlined that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India.

Both the countries had announced on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.

Ties between the countries nosedived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 soldiers were killed.

“We cannot become a secure nation when a small rich minority is surrounded by the sea of poor people. National security is achieved when a nation stands up to secure itself,” he said.

During his address, Khan also praised all-weather ally China for its ‘successful’ handling of poverty and lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty in the last three decades.

He added that Pakistan’s 25 per cent population was suffering from extreme poverty and another 25 per cent was just slightly better.

Khan also mentioned peace in Afghanistan and reiterated support for the ongoing peace process by saying that Pakistan would be the greatest beneficiary of a stable Afghanistan.

The Islamabad security dialogue is envisioned as an annual flagship security forum based on the model of major dialogues on security and international policy.

Eastern Eye

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