Asia - Pacific

Pakistan rules out talks with India

No talks to be held with New Delhi unless India reverses its actions in Kashmir, says Pakistan's Khan

Islamuddin Sajid   | 18.09.2019
Pakistan rules out talks with India Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday ruled out talks with India unless New Delhi reverses its actions on Kashmir. 

Addressing journalists at the inauguration of the key Torkham border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Khan said there is no chance to hold talks with India while the crisis in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region prevails.

"India has ben occupied by extremists and the racist class of Hindus who are … spreading hatred against the Muslims and Pakistan," said Khan.

The premier said he would raise the current crisis in Kashmir and the Indian atrocities in the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

Khan will address the UN General Assembly on Sept. 27, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status as the government has blocked communication access and imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the region.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 90% of the region.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.  

Enhance trade with Afghanistan

The move to make Torkham -- one of the 18 border crossings between the two countries that connects Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber district with northeastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan crossing -- operational 24/7 is likely to boost the trade between the two neighbors.

Previously, the border crossing remained operational for 12 hours only, which caused night-long wait for truckers on either sides of the frontier. Apart from truckers, patients from bordering Afghan provinces had to suffer in case of an emergency due to the border closure during the night.

Also addressing the recent developments in the Afghan peace talks, Khan dubbed it as a “tragedy” that the U.S. cancelled the negotiations with the Taliban.

"I will meet with President Trump on Monday and will insist to resume the peace process which is the only way to bring peace to Afghanistan," Khan said.

The Pakistani premier will be in the U.S. ahead of his UNGA address to have bilateral meetings with the world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump.

Last week, Trump abruptly cancelled a meeting with the representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government, planned in his country retreat Camp David. Trump said that peace talks with the Taliban were "dead", and that the decision was made in retaliation for a recent attack in Afghanistan's Kabul, which killed a dozen people, including a U.S. service member.

On the eve of the Afghan presidential elections -- slated for Sept. 28 -- Khan also called on the Taliban to participate in the election process and said if the group did not participate in the Afghan elections, it would be a “tragedy.”

"I was planning to meet with the Taliban leader after signing an agreement with the U.S. to convince them to set with other Afghans and work together for peace in Afghanistan", Khan said, recalling that Pakistan facilitated the peace process which was acknowledged by the U.S. and the whole world.

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