India willing to talk, says Pak PM’s NSA

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‘We are ready to discuss Kashmir and terror”

New Delhi: In the first interview to the Indian media by any Pakistani official after the constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, the Advisor on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning to Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that India has sent a message expressing a desire for talks.

“We have got a message for a desire for conversation” said Moeed Yusuf, but refused to divulge further details. However, he insisted that Kashmiris must be a third party at these talks.

In a 75-minute interview to ‘The Wire’, Yusuf told Karan Thapar “we must sit down like adults”. He said there are two issues, Kashmir and terror, and added “I want to talk about both”.

He said Pakistan “stands for peace and we want to move forward”.

In the interview Yusuf repeatedly seemed to suggest that Kashmiris would have to be a third party in the talks and, second, that another two pre-conditions were that India must reverse what he called the “military siege” in Kashmir and roll back the new domicile law.

In the interview, available on The Wire’s website, a wide range of questions were raised and issues discussed.

They include why Pakistan is so worked up about the recent constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir. Is this not contradicted by Islamabad’s intention to give full province status to Gilgit-Baltistan? How come Pakistan is demanding Article 370 be restored when earlier it considered it a sham and Pakistani high commissioners would not meet the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir? How Pakistan’s focus on Article 370 has got little response from the world (except Malaysia and Turkey) but alienated Saudi Arabia and UAE. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accusation of “genocide” and “a final solution” in Kashmir whilst remaining totally silent and even expressing ignorance about the plight of the Uighurs in China.

On Kashmir, Yusuf said “Kashmiris hate Indians”. He said the constitutional changes of August 2019 are “not an internal matter”. He said they were “a matter for the UN”.

Speaking about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s silence on the Uighurs while making accusations of “genocide in Kashmir”, he said this was “a false equivalence”.

He said the Uighurs were a “non-issue”. He said that he had personally studied the matter in detail and was hundred percent satisfied that the Uighurs were being treated properly by the Chinese government and that there was no problem.

Speaking about the Mumbai 2008 terror attack and Pakistan’s failure to bring the accused to justice,  Yusuf squarely blamed India. He said India is “deliberately delaying sending evidence and witnesses” because it wants to keep the issue alive and use it to run down Pakistan in front of the world.

In the interview, Yusuf also accuses India of inflicting terror on Pakistan.

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