Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in the face of a no-confidence motion, said on Friday that he is ready to resume talks with India only if it restores the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan is ready to maintain friendship with India, but only after it brings justice to Kashmiris. We will resume talks only after they restore the special status of Kashmir, which was illegally revoked on August 5, 2019,” the embattled leader said at a public rally in Manshera.
India abrogated Article 370, Article 35A of the Constitution on August 5, 2019, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. The move had irked Pakistan which termed it a violation of international law.
“The Kashmir issue is the ‘main difference’ between the two countries and Pakistan’s security concerns increased after India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir,” Khan had said in February.
“If Pakistan revives its relations with India (without the latter restoring the status of Kashmir), it will be similar to turning our back on the Kashmiris,” he added.
Imran Khan said that Pakistan can ‘definitely hold talks’ if India takes back the steps it took on August 5.
India and Pakistan have not held any comprehensive dialogue since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were carried out by Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Though top leaders of the two sides have met since then, they were unable to make any breakthrough.
Imran Khan had recently raked up the Kashmir issue at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, which is also attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. During his keynote address, Imran Khan admitted that OIC has no impact and is not taken seriously by others.
“In Kashmir, the international community promised them their right to decide via plebiscite, that right was never given to them. In fact, the special status of Kashmir was taken away from them illegally by India on August 5, 2019, but nothing happened. I am not talking about altering foreign policies, we have our own, but on core issues, I am asking OIC unless we have a united front, the things like Palestine will happen,” he said.