Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the unresolved Kashmir issue is a cause for concern and Pakistan and India should resolve it like good neighbours on the dialogue table.
“If this issue keeps continuing, there is always a chance that nuclear powers could be confronting each other. So the answer to your question is, yes it concerns me,” Prime Minister Khan said during an interview to CNN on Sunday.
“And our only issue is Kashmir and we should solve it like good neighbours on the dialogue table,” he said.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad 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.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country.
In response to a question during the CNN interview that a miscalculation on the border could spiral out of control, Khan agreed that the 2019 Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir and the military standoff following it could have escalated.
“It could easily have escalated,” Khan said, adding that that is why he urged the then US President Donald Trump that as the most powerful country, “it is very important that we solve this Kashmir issue.”
Talking about his relations in India, Khan said that he is probably one of those Pakistanis who knows and understands India much more than the rest of his countrymen, probably all over the world because of his friendships in India- whether it was media or politicians.
“So the moment my government came into power, the first thing I did was reach out to India. And I said, look you come one step towards us, we’ll go two towards you,” he was quoted as saying.
“I tried everything, made overtures,” he said, while blaming RSS ideology for not making any headway in normalising bilateral ties.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a terror attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by terror groups based in the neighbouring country. Subsequent attacks, including one on an Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp deep inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.
Turning to Afghanistan, Prime Minister Khan said the United States will have to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan “sooner or later.”
The US does not recognise the Taliban-led administrtion in Kabul as the legitimate government in Afghanistan and has designated it as a ‘terrorist organisation’.
“The world wants some guarantees before it recognises the Taliban. So how far is the US going to push the Taliban to conform to [their expectations]. This is the question. Can the Taliban go all the way? Are they capable of going all the way bearing in mind this is a very strong ideological movement that represents a culture that is completely alien to Western societies,” Khan said.
Last week, the Joe Biden administration passed an executive order instructing US financial institutions to facilitate access to USD 3.5 billion in assets for the relief measures in Afghanistan.
The 69-year-old cricketer-turned politician reckoned that there would have to be a “give and take” between the US government and the Taliban regime.
Not recognising the (Taliban) government and freezing their accounts was only harming the people of the war-torn country, he explained in the interview.
Khan warned about the grim humanitarian crisis brewing in the neighbouring country, and reckoned that the only “alternative” available was to work with the Taliban regime and incentivise them in achieving inclusivity and human rights. “That’s the only way forward right now,” he said.–(PTI)