Pakistan premier ready for India talks if given Kashmir roadmap
FILE PHOTO: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) in Putrajaya
By Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that Pakistan is ready to restart talks with arch rival India if Delhi provides a roadmap towards restoring the previous status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
The two nuclear armed neighbours both control parts of Kashmir but claim it in full. In 2019, India withdrew Indian ruled Kashmir autonomy in order to tighten its grip over the territory, sparking outrage in Pakistan, the downgrading of diplomatic ties and asuspension of bilateral trade.
“If there is a roadmap, then, yes, we will talk,” Khan told Reuters at his official residence in Islamabad.
Previously, Khan and his government have held that India would have to first reverse its 2019 steps for any normalisation process to begin.
“Even if they give us a roadmap, that these are the steps that we will take to basically undo what they did, which is illegal, against international law and United Nations resolutions. then that is acceptable,” Khan said. Pakistan accuses India of rights violations in Kashmir, and India says Pakistan supports militants in its part of the region. Both deny the charges.
In 2019, a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in Kashmir led to India sending warplanes to Pakistan.
Khan said he has always wanted a “civilised” and “open” relationship with India.
“It is common sense that if you want to reduce poverty in the subcontinent, the best way is to trade with each other,” he said, referring to the example of the European Union. “They have to come back for us to resume dialogue,” Khan said, adding, “at the moment there is no response from India”.
Earlier this year, Indian officials said the two governments had opened a back channel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalising ties over the next several months. Speaking at a G7 meeting in London on Friday, Mr Sunak added that the world had “high expectations” for what could be agreed by the finance ministers over the two day summit. The incident involved a boat of migrants which had been zig zagging between UK and French waters in the Channel last Saturday when the Border Force cutter Valiant intervened. It went into French waters and “rescued” the migrants even though they were not in trouble but had been travelling at a “slow” pace. During a maritime radio conversation, a
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decision on whether to completely lift COVID restrictions on 21 June. A government figure has told Sky News that Number 10 was still planning to go ahead with the final step in the roadmap, but is waiting for more data before taking any decisions.