Former foreign affairs minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan – on several occasions – had suggested resolving all issues between Pakistan and India through comprehensive dialogue.
“We are all convinced that a comprehensive dialogue process is necessary and the only solution to address issues including lingering Kashmir (issue) between Pakistan and India,” he said in a wide-ranging interview during a TV show. Kasuri suggested to Prime Minister Khan and Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi to deal India and Indian affairs professionally and institutionally.
“We have to understand sensitivity involved in foreign policies. So we must have institutional input in all policy matters,” he said. Like the United Kingdom and other developed countries, he suggested regular meetings of the very important national security council for policy formulation. “We have to ensure that both civilian and military should be on the same page on all important issues,” he said.
To a question, the former minister said that Pakistan and India were close to solving the Kashmir issue during the rule of former president General Pervez Musharraf. He said that his book – ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ – encompassed the dialogue process for solving the Kashmir issue. Despite all-out diplomatic efforts, Islamabad and New Delhi were unable to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, he pointed out.
He said that India has no option but to talk to Pakistan due to the unsustainable situation in Kashmir. “This is not my point of view but senior Indian officials are openly pointing out this,” he said, referring names of India’s former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, former national security adviser AK Narayanan and several others. “Now India will have to accept Kashmir as a political issue,” he said, adding that the Indian government will have to start talks with Pakistan and Kashmiris.
“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also interested to resolve the Kashmir issue that was why he was in Lahore,” he said while referring to the sudden visit of the Indian leader to attend a wedding ceremony of the then prime minister’s granddaughter. “We must think why he (PM Modi) was in Lahore,” he asked. “The Lahore visit (of PM Modi) was mishandled both in Pakistan and in India,” he said. “For my understanding, Prime Minister Modi was also interested to normalise relations with Pakistan,” he said.
To a question, Kasuri said that the Pakistani people had complete confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan because they know that he (the prime minister) can steer the country out of crises besides finding a win-win solution to the Kashmir issue.
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