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Pakistan emphasizes India needs to step forward for regional peace

Premier Khan says Islamabad tried to solve issues, including Kashmir via talks, but 'New Delhi went in opposite direction'

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Pakistan once again asked India on Wednesday to take the first step toward peace and resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Speaking at the opening session of the first Islamabad Security Dialogue conference in the Pakistani capital, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government tried from the first day to resolve all outstanding issues with India, including Kashmir through dialogue, but “New Delhi went in the opposite direction.”

“We want peace with India, but India must take the first step toward peace because we cannot move forward without it,” Khan noted.

He said: “We hope the Kashmiris get their right to self-determination given to them by the UN Security Council,” adding that it will benefit both Pakistan and India.

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“When we came into power, we tried to resolve all issues with India through dialogue, as our basic issue is Kashmir, and I wanted to resolve it like a civilized neighbor, but unfortunately, India took Aug. 5 actions that broke down all ties between the countries,” Khan said.

On Aug. 5, 2019, India scrapped the autonomy of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region after imposing a military lockdown and snapping all communications with the outer world.

India further divided Jammu and Kashmir into two centrally administered territories.

Pro-freedom leadership in Kashmir has been in disarray since last April when hundreds of leaders and activists were detained and jailed in India.

Earlier, Khan unveiled the Policy Advisory Portal — the first of its kind — at the Islamabad Security Dialogue’s inaugural session. The portal has been developed by the National Security Division to engage over 100 think tanks and academia in policymaking.

Regional peace a must to improve trade ties

The prime minister said his country wants good relations with all its neighbors as it exists in the center of the region.

“Economic connectivity and regional ties need to be strengthened for the prosperity of the South Asian region,” Khan said.

Khan also praised China for bringing out 700 million people from poverty and said his government follows the Chinese model to eradicate poverty from the country.

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Khan added that Pakistan and Uzbekistan are in negotiations to establish train connectivity between two countries, which will connect Islamabad to Central Asia.

He added that without regional peace and improved trade ties with neighboring countries, Pakistan cannot capitalize on its geostrategic location.

Afghan peace process

Concerning the ongoing Afghan peace process, the prime minister said challenges are still there, however, he expressed hope for the “positive outcome.”

He said: “Pakistan has made major contributions to bringing peace in Afghanistan with its partners because peace in Afghanistan will change the entire outlook of South Asia and Central Asia.”

“I am very happy that Pakistan played a very positive role in the Afghan peace process and still we are committed to doing everything we can to facilitate dialogue for peace in Afghanistan,” Khan said.

Islamabad Security Dialogue

Pakistani National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf while introducing Pakistan’s first such forum said his country has been “treated unfairly by the Western world, creating a negative perception.”

“I wouldn’t hide the fact that we’ve been treated very unfairly over the years, especially by the media outside painting Pakistan in a negative light, and that’s an area and our responsibility to address,” said Yusuf, who leads Pakistan’s National Security Division (NSD).

Read more: PM Imran Khan expands Pakistan’s national security with new additions

He said the NSD has established a “Council of Experts” on national security, diplomacy, climate change, and food security to advise the government.

“The aim of the portal is to bridge the gap between intellectuals and policymakers,” he added.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk