August 2018 News

Pakistan PM Imran Khan Puts Kashmir First For Indo-Pak Talks

23 August 2018
India Today
Hamza Ameer

Islamabad: If there was any hope of resuming productive bilateral talks and dialogue between arch rivals and neighbours India and Pakistan, it now stands very much dissolved. The hope was given by newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who had emphasized on promoting trade, cricket and bilateral talks between India and Pakistan. Imran Khan seems to have changed his position on India. In a recent statement, PM Imran Khan stated that Kashmir is the core issue between India and Pakistan. He emphasized that the dispute should be resolved through dialogue. The statement has made it clear that Pakistan will continue its stand on Kashmir as the core agenda of talks, if they are to resume, a point that India is not ready to debate. Chairman of Hurriyat Forum Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with his party members has also hailed Imran Khan's statement. 'Kashmiris welcome the statement of Imran Khan calling for a resolution to the Kashmir dispute through dialogue in view of the huge human cost being borne by the people of Kashmir,' said Mirwaiz in a tweet. PM Imran Khan's statement comes at a time when a new government setup, led by the political party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has taken over as ruling government after claiming victory in the 2018 general elections. The Kashmir dispute has been seen as a massive issue to garner votes and score political brownie points in India and Pakistan. While India has declared the Hurriyat leadership as an extremist element operating in Jammu Kashmir, Pakistan has always supported them, calling them freedom fighters for the rights of the people of Kashmir. Moreover, the Kashmir issue gets sensitive and emotional support from various religious quarters in Pakistan. The sensitivity is so high that anyone who does not support the Kashmir dispute or even attempts to put any other issue ahead of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan is widely criticized and considered an enemy of Pakistan. On the other hand, supporting the Kashmir issue and making tall claims of freeing Kashmir from what they call Indian occupation attracts major support and votes for all political leaders. PM Imran Khan's statement does not come as a surprise as this has been a decades-long position of Pakistan on India. Although, all political leaders have claimed they would ensure Kashmir's freedom during their tenure, the issue has been pending for so long that serious questions have been raised over the intention of the leaders. The longstanding Kashmir issue has also made its reputation from a freedom struggle to a political point scoring opportunity for both India and Pakistan.