Kashmir is not India’s domestic affair: Qureshi
By News Desk
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that Pakistan was firm on its position that Kashmir was not India’s internal affair as it backed down on a recent statement in which he described article 370 as an “internal affair” for New Delhi, triggering criticism from the opposition.
In an interview with a private television station on Sunday, Qureshi said the repeal of Section 370 was an internal Indian matter. Qureshi has been severely criticized by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) opposition, which called him ” [sic] U-turn âand the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which said Qureshi’s remarks wereâ a confusion that needs to be clarified in parliament â.
At a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, Qureshi, in response to a question regarding the recent statement, said: âKashmir is not an internal Indian issue. Pakistan has not turned back and never will. “
“The dispute, which is on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council with several resolutions on this subject, cannot be an internal Indian issue,” he declared categorically. “There is no ambiguity and Pakistan will continue to underline the plight of the Kashmiris in all international forums,” he added. By repealing Article 35-A, he said, India was distorting the demographics of the valley and denying the Kashmiris their identity.
Regarding the Saudi Foreign Minister’s offer of the Kingdom’s support to help defuse tensions between Pakistan and India, Qureshi said Pakistan would welcome third-party facilitation from Saudi Arabia or from any other country for the resumption of talks with India.
âPakistan is ready for third party facilitation. India has always avoided it, âhe said. Qureshi said Saudi Arabia was friends with Pakistan and also had trade ties with India, which was a big importer of Saudi oil. “If Saudi Arabia wants to play a role [in facilitating talks], we will welcome [it],” he said.
He recalled that the ceasefire agreement between Pakistan and India was welcomed by the world, including Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Minister confirmed that there were “no formal talks” at the moment with India, but said that if India wanted this to happen, it “had to take the first step in before”.
“If India wants a constructive dialogue with Pakistan, it must review its policy on Kashmir and reverse the revocation of their special status,” he said.
He called on India to come to the aid of the Kashmiri people, who were suffering from the 19-month military siege and search and cordon operations, and “would thus pave the way for an environment conducive to talks”.
During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Minister said that this had led to the development of a “positive understanding” on both sides that promoting their mutual relations was the need to l ‘hour.
He said that in addition to the agreement on investments, bilateral trade and job creation, Extraordinary Development for the first time establishes an institutionalized mechanism with three pillars – security, economic and respective areas.
âThis visit to Saudi Arabia was different in that it challenged conceptions of the elements that were trying to create a wedge between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Now it’s a win-win cooperation, âhe said.
Qureshi said that as part of the Crown Prince’s Vision 2030, around 10 million workers are needed in the next few years and that leaders want to allocate a big chuck to the Pakistanis. âIn addition to blue collar jobs, we need to prepare our workforce for white collar jobs by building their capacity alongside professionals,â he said.
He said the Saudi $ 500 million fund would help Pakistan meet its energy needs through the development of hydropower projects. He said Saudi Arabia holds a special place in the Muslim community which looks to it for a leadership role, saying Pakistan welcomes the opening of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran to appease the tensions.
Asked whether Saudi aid to Pakistan would lead to any favors in return, he said: âPakistan is not paying the price. He knows his own interests. “” Diplomacy is not an instant job, but it is necessary to work on the subjects by persistent efforts. Pakistan will protect its interests anyway, âhe added.