Pakistan ready for India talks if given Kashmir roadmap
Published: 10:07 PM, 4 June 2021
Pakistan PM Imran Khan
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 occupied Kashmir.
“If there is a roadmap, then, yes, we will talk,” the premier told Reuters at his official residence in Islamabad.
In 2019, India withdrew India-occupied Kashmir's autonomy in order to tighten its grip over the territory, sparking outrage in Pakistan, the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.
Previously, Prime Minister Imran and his government have held that India would have to first reverse its 2019 steps for any normalization 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,” Imran said.
India's external affairs ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.
Imran Khan said he has always wanted a “civilized” 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.
He said India had crossed a “red line” by revoking the autonomy of occupied Kashmir. “They have to come back for us to resume dialogue,” Imran said, adding, “at the moment there is no response from India.”
Prime Minister Imran had made similar remarks last week, saying Pakistan could not restart trade with India at the cost of the blood of Kashmiris spilled by India, and that any normalization under the current circumstances would be a major "betrayal" to the people of the occupied region.
Earlier this year, Indian officials said the two governments had opened a backchannel of diplomacy aimed at a modest roadmap to normalizing ties over the next several months.- DAWN.