India must give Kashmiris right to self-determination: Imran Khan

Islamabad, March 17 : Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has said that India must fulfill its commitment of giving the Kashmiris their right to self-determination as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

Imran Khan made these remarks while addressing the first edition of the Islamabad Security Dialogue, a two-day summit organised by National Security Division in collaboration with the leading think tanks of the country.

He said Indian will have to take the first step for improving bilateral relations by addressing the Kashmir dispute, which is the main hurdle in the way of better ties between the two countries.

“There is one issue that is stopping us [from improving relations] at this time. We will make our efforts but India must take the first step because after August 5, till they take the first step, then unfortunately we cannot move forward,” Imran Khan said. He was referring to Narendra Modi-led fascist Indian government’s decision on August 5, 2019 to repeal the special status of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and place it under strict military siege.

“Our issue basically is Kashmir and it is the only issue – how we can settle it through dialogue and establish a relationship as civilised neighbours,” he said, speaking in Urdu.

The Prime Minister noted that he had attempted to settle all issues with India after forming government in 2018. “Unfortunately, there was August 5 and that was a big blow and there was a total breakdown between the two countries,” he said.

“We still hope that they [India] give the Kashmiris the right they were given by the UN Security Council to decide their own future. It will be as beneficial for India as for Pakistan,” Imran Khan said.

“If there is movement towards the resolution of Kashmir through dialogue, the whole region will change and there will be big benefits to both countries – benefits for India because there is great poverty there. So if poverty is to be removed then our trading and economic ties must be strong and our regional connectivity should increase. India will benefit from being connected to Central Asia,” he added.

The Prime Minister maintained that Pakistan’s national security was not just about the armed forces, but included vulnerability to climate change, food security and economic matters. “As long as there is no regional peace and our relations with our neighbours and trading ties are not good, Pakistan won’t be able to take full advantage of its geo-strategic location. If there is peace in this region, Pakistan will be the biggest beneficiary because we are connected in all four directions,” he said.

“We are connected to the world’s two largest markets – I mean we are connected with China and we can be connected with the other, India,” he added.

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