Pakistan Prime Minister Iman Khan on Tuesday said that Islamabad will not hold talks with India till New Delhi reversed its decision to revoke special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, reported Dawn.
Khan made the statement during a radio programme in response to a question from a caller. “Western newspapers now criticise Hindu extremist ideology [in India],” he said and credited his country for playing an important role in raising awareness about Kashmir.
However, the Pakistan prime minister also criticised other countries for not highlighting the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. “When the western media and countries raise human rights issues, it is not because they care about human rights,” he said. “They use it to push their foreign policy objectives. This is a reality.”
Khan also said that western countries were not standing with Kashmir the way Pakistan wanted. In March too, Khan had said that the Kashmir conflict was the “only issue” coming in the way of building better ties between Islamabad and New Delhi, while also hindering sustained peace in South Asia.
Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that New Delhi and Islamabad were not presently holding any talks, reported PTI. He said that parleys were an option if India would revisit its policy on Jammu and Kashmir.
“Jammu and Kashmir cannot be an internal issue of India as it is on the agenda of the UN [United Nations] and there are several Security Council resolutions on it,” Qureshi said.
India has maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and matters relating to the region was the country’s internal matter. New Delhi has repeatedly criticised Pakistan for bringing up the matter in global forums.
The relationship between the two countries had deteriorated after India abrogated the special status granted to Jammu in Kashmir on August 5, 2019. However, their relations saw multiple positive developments a few months ago.
In February, the two countries released a rare joint statement, announcing a ceasefire along the Line of Control. The declaration reaffirmed the commitment of the countries made during the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Khan also exchanged letters in March, expressing their intentions to establish “cordial relations”.
However, the positive developments took a hit in April after Pakistan deferred the decision to import cotton and sugar from India just a day after the country’s top decision-making body on commerce lifted a ban to facilitate the trade. Pakistan had then said that the bilateral relations could not be normalised unless India revokes the August 5, 2019, decision.
Later in April, a top United Arab Emirates diplomat said that the country was mediating between India and Pakistan to help them reach a “healthy and functional” relationship. His comment had come after Reuters reported that top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held “secret talks” in Dubai in January to ease military tension regarding Kashmir.