Pakistan goes back on India peace talk offer, adds condition

Going back on its promise, Pakistan has now demanded the restoration of special status to Kashmir for peace talks with India.

Srinagar | Updated: 17 January, 2023 4:42 pm IST
Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif offered peace talks with India, only to later add condition of restoring special status to Kashmir.

Just a few hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif extended the offer to hold peace talks with India, Islamabad on Tuesday made a U-turn, adding restoring Article 370 as a pre-condition for the dialogue proposal.

Earlier in the day, Sharif, in an interview with a television channel in Dubai, called on his Indian counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold “sincere and serious talks on issues like Kashmir”.

In a series of tweets, the office of the Pakistan PM issued a clarification to Shehbaz’s statement.

“In reference to PM Shehbaz Sharif’s interview with Al Arabiya, the spokesman of the PM office has said the PM has consistently maintained that Pakistan& India must resolve their bilateral issues, especially the core issue of Jammu& Kashmir, through dialogue and peaceful means,” his office said on Twitter.

“However, the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated on record that talks can only take place after India reversed its illegal action of August 5, 2019. Without India’s revocation of this step, negotiations are not possible.”

If further said: “The settlement of Kashmir dispute should be in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir. The spokesperson said that the Prime Minister made this position very clear in his interview with Al Arabiya news during his recent visit to the UAE.”

Earlier, PM Sharif stated that Pakistan has learned its lesson from the three wars with India and all it has resulted in is poverty and misery for the common man.

“India is our neighbouring country, we are neighbours. Let’s be very blunt, even if we are not neighbours by choice, we are there forever and It is up to us to live peacefully and make progress or quarrel with each other, and waste time and resources. We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people” the Pakistani PM said.

He further commented, “We have learnt our lesson and we want to live in peace provided we are able to resolve our genuine problems. We want to alleviate poverty, achieve prosperity, and provide education and health facilities and employment to our people and not waste our resources on bombs and ammunition that is the message I want to give to PM Modi.”

On the issue of Kashmir, Sharif said: “Pakistan wants peace but what is happening in Kashmir must be stopped,” adding, “we are nuclear powers, armed to the teeth and God forbid if war breaks out, who will live to tell what happened”.

PM Sharif’s offer to hold talks has come at a time of Pakistan is going through deepening political instability and a plummeting economy.  Pakistan’s foreign reserves have dropped down to just USD 5.5 billion, triggering high inflation costs throughout the country.

Pakistan is also facing a worsening security situation within the country after the collapse of the ceasefire with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) last year. TTP attacks on Pakistani security establishments have grown substantially. Additionally, Islamabad’s relations with Afghanistan have also dwindled on the back of the dispute over the recognition of the Durand Line. Both sides have exchanged fires multiple times in the Spin Boldak border region in the recent past and hostilities between the two nations have grown diplomatically as well.

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