Islamabad: Pakistan cannot “conquer” Kashmir through war, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said while asserting that bilateral issues cannot be resolved in a “hostile environment”.
“I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue, and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust,” Khar told Geo News.
She claimed that the previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, despite being a coalition, tried its best to normalise ties with India through relaxation of visa rules and by normalising trade ties.
The Nawaz Sharif administration can do much more as it enjoys majority, she asserted.
“The issues between the two countries cannot be resolved in a hostile environment,” the 38-year-old PPP leader said.
Khar, who was Pakistan’s foreign minister from 2011 to 2013, maintained that the Kashmir issue can be resolved “if we continue to talk on the issue, then we will reach somewhere”.
Asked about the military’s influence on Pakistan’s foreign policy, she said it is a diplomat’s job to carry forward the military’s perspective on issues where the military is a relevant stake holder.
Khar stated some people believe that the issue can only be resolved “if there is a BJP government in India and a military government in Pakistan”.
She observed that it is a fact that military ruler Pervez Musharraf gave India adequate relaxation on the Kashmir issue during his tenure.
Asked about the recent downturn in Pak-US ties and the US’ tilt towards India, the former foreign minister said the US tilt towards India is driven by economy, market and because of a wish to contain the rising power of China.
“Now let us ask ourselves, is US moving towards India because India is a nuclear state, or because it is a military power, no, it is people power and their democratic traditions, if we want to compete, lets compete on these grounds,” said Khar.
Khar maintained that Pakistan’s current foreign policy is “reactive and not active” as Pakistan is not taking its own line or direction but is only reacting on the circumstances arising in the region or world at large.