NORMALISING relations with India would be a betrayal to the people of Kashmir, Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan said on Sunday (30).
In a live Q and A session with the public on Sunday, Khan said re-establishing ties with India would be ignoring all the struggle of Kashmiris and the more than 100,000 “martyred” Kashmiris.
“I tried, since day one after coming into power, that we have relations with India and the issue of Kashmir is resolved through dialogue,” Khan said.
“There is no doubt a normalised relation with India would improve our trade, but this cannot happen at the cost of Kashmiris’ blood,” he added.
However, he said Pakistan would hold talks with India if New Delhi restores the pre-August 5, 2019 status of Kashmir.
The Indian government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories.
Simultaneously, it put the region into lockdown, detained thousands of people, imposed movement restrictions and enforced a communications blackout.
Islamabad, in turn, suspended trade ties and downgraded diplomatic relations with New Delhi.
New Delhi has repeatedly said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the country is capable of solving its own problems.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with it in an environment free of terror, hostility, and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.
Relations deteriorated after India announced it would withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two union territories. Lately, there has been some improvement when the two countries agreed in February to restore peace on the Line of Control.