By: Chandrashekar Bhat
PAKISTAN prime minister Imran Khan has said all “outstanding issues” like the Kashmir dispute should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.
It is essential that a “strategic balance” is maintained in the region for “enduring peace” in south Asia, he said.
In an article published in China’s state-run Global Times on Friday (28), Khan briefly referred to the resolution of the Kashmir issue besides the border disputes as key to maintaining peace in south Asia.
“It is our common vision that enduring peace in South Asia is contingent on maintaining a strategic balance in the region and all outstanding issues like border questions and the Kashmir dispute should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and as per norms of international law,” he wrote.
His observation comes amidst the continued chill in the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism.
Khan also gave a clean chit to China over human rights violation allegations against Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang ahead of his visit to China to take part in the February 4 Beijing Winter Olympics’ inaugural ceremony.
China faced a diplomatic boycott by the US and allies over the Xinjiang issue.
However, Khan said his country’s envoy, after a visit to the province, reported that charges were not true.
“There is a lot of criticism of the treatment of Uygurs by China in the West. But our ambassador went there (and) he sent information that it is not actually true on the ground,” Khan told Chinese journalists in Islamabad on Saturday (29) ahead of his visit to Beijing.
Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, expressed his eagerness to attend the Winter Olympics, saying it was very “admirable” for China to go forward with the event when the pandemic had adversely affected many sporting events across the world.
While giving the clean chit to China over the restive region of Xinjiang, Khan, however, blamed the “selective silence” of the Western countries on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.
India has emphasised that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.
During a previous interview with Chinese journalists in July 2021, Khan deflected criticism of Pakistan’s silence on the allegations of rights abuses by China against Uygur Muslims.
Khan, according to Pakistan daily Dawn, said Pakistan had accepted Beijing’s version regarding the treatment of Uyghurs due to “our extreme proximity and relationship”.
Besides taking part in the inaugural ceremony, Khan will be holding the key meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping and other officials to discuss the state of the all-weather ties, the problems faced by the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese loans and investments to shore up Pakistan’s sagging economy.