Talks Only After India Restores Kashmir Autonomy: Imran Khan

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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan | Reuters file

Islamabad- Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that Pakistan would hold talks with India if New Delhi restores the pre-August 5, 2019 status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two Union territories.

“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, Khan said during a live questions and answers session with the people.

Khan said that if India takes back the steps it took on August 5, “then we can definitely hold talks”.

New Delhi has repeatedly said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the country is capable of solving its own problems.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with it in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

Ties between India and Pakistan nosedived after Pathankot Air Force base attack in 2016. Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.

The relationship dipped further after India carried out airstrikes inside Pakistan on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.

The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.

However, lately there has been some improvement when the two countries agreed in February to restore peace on the Line of Control. It is said that the rival officials have been interacting through the back channel diplomacy to ease tension.

Khan also responded to several questions about domestic issues including inflation and promised that his government was working hard to bring down prices of commodities. He also said that Pakistan will continue to achieve economic growth in the days to come as he termed the process gradual and one that would take time.

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