Disputes and problems with India, including the Kashmir issue, must be resolved through dialogue and communication and Pakistan would appreciate the mediation of any country in such talks, the Foreign Office (FO) said on Friday.
FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, in his weekly media briefing, said Pakistan wanted good relations with India and was not running away from negotiations.
“We want to resolve all issues with India — Kashmir included — through talks. Our position on the Kashmir issue has not changed.
“Pakistan has never refused to negotiate with India. We believe the international community should hold talks in view of the existing conflict between the two countries,” said Chaudhri. He added that countries continued to engage in talks even during war and that problems could only be solved through dialogue.
“We appreciate the mediation of any country, including the United States,” the spokesman said.
But any talks should be “meaningful and focused on fundamental issues”, Chaudhri stressed, adding that they should also be “purposeful and fruitful” where objectives were concerned. “The environment for talks should be conducive and India should make a conducive environment.”
“Dialogue is essential for peace and solutions to problems,” he said, recalling that Prime Minister Imran Khan had already said that Pakistan would take two steps forward if India took one.
Chaudhri said the biggest issue between Pakistan and India was that of Kashmir and, therefore, it would be the basis of any talks between the two countries. “Peace in the region is not possible without resolving the Kashmir issue,” he emphasised.
As a first step, the FO spokesperson said, India would have to withdraw the measures of August 5, 2019, which stripped Indian-occupied Kashmir of its special autonomy.
He said extra-judicial killings by Indian forces in IoK had continued unabated in the past week. “Ten more Kashmiris were martyred in Pulwama and Shopian districts of IoK. Out of these, seven were martyred only yesterday,” he pointed out, adding that Pakistan had “repeatedly called for independent investigations under international scrutiny into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris”.
“We have also consistently underscored the need for unhindered access to UN human rights bodies, international human rights organisations and media to assess the human rights situation in IoK.
“We are also concerned over the continuing military siege, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership, unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people and ongoing efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation [of] international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention,” an FO statement quoted Chaudhri as saying.
The spokesperson called upon the international community to recognise the continued human rights violations and “play its role in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions”.
He also said there had been no progress in the appointment of high commissioners for Pakistan and India and a return of the envoys was currently unlikely.
Release of prisoners
Chaudhri also addressed the issue of delayed release of Pakistani prisoners by India, calling upon New Delhi to release the inmates as soon as possible.
“Pakistan’s position is that release on humanitarian grounds should take place as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said, adding that the issue of prisoners should be resolved on the basis of “human compassion”.
“Whenever there is a delay in the release of Pakistani prisoners by India, we contact them.”