Peace in Kabul only via Kashmir: Pakistan tells US

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For the first time, Pakistan has linked peace in war-torn Afghanistan to the resolution of the Kashmir issue, saying a solution to both is required for peace and they cannot be “compartmentalised”.

“Road to peace in Kabul lies in Kashmir in the sense that when you talk of peace, you cannot compartmentalise peace, you can’t segregate a section… ok you can have peace in Kabul and let Kashmir burn. That is not going to happen,” Pakistan Prime Minister’s special envoy on Kashmir Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said in Washington.

“So you (US) talk of a comprehensive peace settlement, so let the people of South Asia not be hostage to the hostility of the past. Let them move forward,” said Syed, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate’s Defence and Defence Production Committee said during an interaction at Washington-based think-tank Stimson Centre.

He is accompanied by Shezra Mansab, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, as Special Envoys of Pakistan Prime Minister on Kashmir.

“Our core issue this time is Kashmir and no peace can prevail in the region, if this issue is not solved. It is an international dispute. It is not an internal problem. The stakes are very high now, we are nuclear neighbours so we need to have peace on the issue of Kashmir and then rest of the things can be solved,” Mansab said.

She added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has offered peace talks “without any preconditions” but it has been consistently rejected by India.

“The way to move forward is negotiations. We are ready to talk on any subject. It is India which says that it is willing to talk about only one subject. We are ready to talk on that subject as well as other subjects,” she said.

Referring to the lackluster response that they received during their visit to Washington DC, Michael Krepon of the Stimson Centre asked as to why the US should interfere in this.

“Why, when it is so hard for the US to my embarrassment to get involved in more helpful way in Syria, why should the US listen to the argument to be more involvement in Kashmir,” Krepon said, adding that the situation in Kashmir is much better than many other conflict prone areas of the world, including Syria.

The two Pakistani envoys had no clear explanation to it.

(With inputs from PTI)

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