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Peace in India and Pakistan is related to Kashmir: Khawaja Asif

07 August, 2017

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SIALKOT: Newly-appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Sunday that the atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir continue to take place, adding that Pakistan would not compromise over the issue of Kashmir.

“Peace in India and Pakistan is related to Kashmir and without solving the issue durable peace cannot be achieved,” the foreign minister told media in Sialkot.

“We know how to secure our borders, however, lasting peace can only be attained through solving the Kashmir issue,” he said.

The former defence minister said Pakistan’s options become limited if India “does not agree to meet us halfway.” “We want to dissipate tensions with India but they are not willing to do the same,” he added.

Kh Asif said peace between the two countries is intertwined with Kashmir dispute and in light of the UN resolutions the people of Kashmir want the right to vote for self-determination.

Asif said that India was disturbing situation at the western border besides the Line of Control (LoC). “Indian troops are violating ceasefire at the LoC and the government is pushing for disturbance at the western end,” he said, and added that terms between the two countries would not get better with Pakistan working towards it single handedly.

He said Pakistan will help Kashmiris achieve their right to hold a referendum, which has also been recognised by the United Nations and the global community.

The minister called on India to honour Indus Water Treaty (IWT) in order to ensure regional peace. He warned that any misadventure would eventually create unrest in the region. He said Pakistan was a peace-loving country and wanted cordial relations with regional countries on equal basis. He said Pakistan was showing flexibility just for the cause of peace in the region.

“It should not be construed as weakness,” he said, and added that Pakistan was fully capable to defend its geographical boundaries. The foreign minister said that Pakistan’s foreign policy was in line with the wishes of Pakistanis and the country’s interests. He said that Pakistan wanted good relations with Afghanistan too, but India will also have to play a part in this.

Asif said that Afghanistan needs to play a role here as well. Pakistan is fighting terrorism for many decades and the armed forces are to be accredited for the successful curbing of violence and terror attacks across the country.

“Pakistan has been fighting the war on terror for a long time now and the threat has decreased now owing to the great sacrifices made by the Pakistan Army,” he said.

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