Pakistani envoy calls for Kashmir resolution for regional stability

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 06.03.2019 00:40

Pakistan's Ambassador to Ankara Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi reiterated the call for resolution of the Kashmir problem in order to reach permanent peace in South Asia.

Speaking at a conference in Ankara on Monday, the ambassador said that "the recent incidents in South Asia have once again shown that the peace and stability in the region can only be achieved through dialogue." He underscored that despite the rhetoric sparking tension between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir region, Qazi stressed Pakistan will continue to use the means of dialogue for peace.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals have soared since a suicide bombing in Kashmir on Feb. 14 by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militants killed 40 Indian paramilitary troops. India has long accused Pakistan of cultivating such militant groups to attack it. Pakistan has denied any involvement in the suicide attack.

Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan last week, carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for the bombing. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet last Wednesday and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday as a gesture peace.

Despite the move, Indian and Pakistani soldiers have once again targeted each other's posts and villages along their Line of Control (LoC) in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops, officials said Saturday.

The current violence marks the most serious escalation of the long-simmering conflict since 1999, when Pakistan's military sent a ground force into Indian-controlled Kashmir. That year also saw an Indian fighter jet shoot down a Pakistani naval aircraft, killing all 16 on board.

Qazi stressed that the future of Kashmir needs to be determined by Kashmiri people and added that the issue – as underlined by the U.N. – needs to be resolved in a transparent and democratic way. Qazi also stated that after the elections, the normalization process with India was started and the prime minister promised to increase efforts twice for the possible positive steps taken by India. Furthermore, he added that Prime Minister Khan wrote a letter to his Indian counterpart calling for permanent peace. For this regard, in 2018 a meeting was held yet India unilaterally cancelled this meeting.

In the event, the Pakistani envoy stressed that they welcome Turkey's support and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call for dialogue in resolving the dispute. Erdoğan discussed the tensions between Pakistan and India over the phone with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday.

According to a statement from the Pakistani prime minister's office, Erdoğan expressed appreciation for Imran Khan's move to release a captured Indian fighter pilot that had entered Pakistani airspace on Wednesday.

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