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Pakistan asks India not to shy away from talks

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Islamabad, Mar 06: Pakistan has reiterated its offer for dialogue and table talks to India, asking it not to shy away from negotiations on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our only dispute is Kashmir and it can only be resolved through dialogue. Pakistan has never shied away from talks and has always called for peaceful resolution to all outstanding disputes, including the internationally recognized dispute of Jammu and Kashmir,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said.

“The principle of negotiations stated that anyone who runs away has a weak position on the negotiating table.

“The way we have been articulating our position shows that we have a position of strength. Let me reiterate that there is no change in Pakistan’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute and needs to be resolved in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions that call for a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices,” he added.

Pakistan’s latest calls for dialogue echoes with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement during his visit to Sri Lanka, where he stated that he approached India immediately after coming in power and “explained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the way forward for the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue”.

“I didn’t succeed but I am optimistic that eventually sense will prevail. The only way the subcontinent can tackle poverty is by improving trade relations,” Khan had said.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that the recent ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan was in line with Islamabad’s consistent position.

The DGMO-level hotline contact between India and Pakistan was focused on discussions over the establishment mechanisms of hotline contact on consistent bases.

“While reviewing the situation along the LoC and all other sectors, the two sides agreed to observe all agreements, understandings and ceasefire.

“The agreement will help save Kashmiri lives and alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiris living along the LoC. Pakistan has consistenly underscored the need for implementation of the 2003 ceasefire understanding in letter and spirit for maintenance of peace along the Line of Control and for saving the previous lives of innocent Kashmiris. We have also maintained that escalation along the LoC is a threat to regional peace and security,” the spokesperson added.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have severely intensified in the recent past with heavy exchange of firepower along the LoC, particularly after the Pulwana suicide attack, which led to the Balakot strikes by India and Pakistan’s response on February 27, 2019.

However, with the DGMO-level contact and enforcement of ceasefire through mutual agreement, hopes of some positive movement in de-escalation of tensions between the two arch-rivals have gained momentum.

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