Srinagar- PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said Pakistan Army Chief”s statement calling for better ties with India has provided a “good opportunity” for the two nations to set aside hostilities and find a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem.
“A good opportunity for India & Pakistan to set aside hostilities & find a long lasting solution vis-a-vis Kashmir,” Mehbooba said in a tweet.
She was reacting to Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Jawad Bajwa’s statement that India and Pakistan should bury the past and move forward.
“Both countries have huge military budgets to outdo each other when the same resources can instead be used on common challenges like poverty, education & healthcare,” she added.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s powerful Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward”, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan made similar overtures towards New Delhi following an unexpected ceasefire announcement by the militaries of the two countries last month.
“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” he said, adding that the responsibility for a meaningful dialogue rested with India.
Their remarks came weeks after the militaries of India and Pakistan announced on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.
India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003, but it had hardly been followed in letter and spirit over the past several years with more violations than observance of the pact.
“Our neighbour will have to create a conducive environment, particularly in Kashmir, Gen Bajwa said in his address, adding that any effort to improve ties without addressing the core issue would be vulnerable to external political factors.
“The Kashmir issue is at the heart of this. It is important to understand that without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process will always remain susceptible to derailment to politically motivated bellicosity, he said.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a militant attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relations further deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.
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