November 2017 News

'No Support For An Independent Kashmir'

6 November 2017
The Hindu
Vidya Ram

London: There is no support for an independent Kashmir on the ground in either part of Kashmir, or within the Kashmiri diaspora, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi insisted, as he rejected the concept of an independent Kashmir as a solution at an event at the London School of Economics this weekend. 'This is something floated often but has no basis in reality,' he told students gathered at the Future of Pakistan Conference at the LSE, adding that the solution lay in determination by the people of Kashmir. As long as the issue of Kashmir remained unresolved, relations with India would remain 'tense' and progress could only be made on a secondary level, he said. 'We are always open to talks - talks at any level and we believe that talks are the way forward and only talks will resolve the situation war is not an option there.' '(Both) countries have nuclear weapons India has developed a new doctrine that has added a new dimension talks are the only way forward,' he said. However with elections round the corner in the next couple of years in both countries, any expectation of a 'great initiative' to take the situation forward was 'misplaced' he said. During his speech and question and answer session with students, Mr. Abbasi sought to play down the significance for Pakistan of the U.S. new Afghan policy, insisting that Pakistan had had strong relations with the U.S., Afghanistan, and China over the past 70 years and that its relationship with the U.S. shouldn't be seen entirely through the prism of Afghanistan. He also rejected the notion of Pakistani safe havens for terror, insisting there were sanctuaries in Afghanistan for attacks in the opposite direction. 'Many believe terror emanates from Pakistan - that's a narrative that is totally wrong,' he insisted. 'Pakistan is a country fighting terror for the world... today we have to get rid of this menace and we are committed to fighting that menace.'