Politics, Asia - Pacific

Pakistani premier rules out talks with India on Kashmir

Indian-administered region facing clampdown since Aug. 5 following scrapping of its autonomy by India

Aamir Latif   | 22.08.2019
Pakistani premier rules out talks with India on Kashmir

KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has ruled out any talks with India over the lingering Kashmir dispute, amid mounting tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

"There is no point in talking to them. I mean, I have done all the talking," Imran Khan said in an interview with New York Times published on Thursday, referring to the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Khan has hardened his criticism against the Modi government following India’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Since 1947 up until last month, Jammu and Kashmir had special provisions under which it enacted its own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which prohibited outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

"Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement," he said, admitting that his entreaties for communication with Modi were repeatedly rebuffed before and after the Indian crackdown on the Muslim-majority region.

"There is nothing more that we can do," he added.

He said "he feared ethnic cleansing and genocide in the disputed region which is facing a communication blackout".

"The most important thing is that eight million people's lives are at risk," the newspaper cited him as saying.

The Indian-administered region has been facing a clampdown since Aug. 5, when the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which conferred it a special status.

Hundreds of people, mostly political leaders, have been detained or arrested by authorities since the move.

Kashmiri leaders and residents fear the move is an attempt by India to change the demography of the state, where some groups have been fighting Indian rule for either independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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