No talks with India until situation in IoK changes: Imran US senators, Gen Bajwa discuss Kashmir, Afghan reconciliation

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday talks with India were out of question in the ongoing situation in occupied Kashmir since India revoked its special status in August.
The PM said there would be no talks with India during a meeting with United States Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggi Hassan, who met to share their observations with the prime minister about their recent visit to Azad Kashmir.
The premier said Indian PM Narendra Modi has distorted the face of India in front of the whole world, adding that he is not certain himself of the current face of India.
Imran said he was the biggest supporter of Pakistan-India talks; however, it is impossible until the situation is changed for the better in occupied Kashmir.
The premier also thanked the US senators for cooperation on the issue of Kashmir. US Senator Chris Van Hollen was this week refused entry into Indian-occupied Kashmir during a trip to India, according to a report in American news publication The Washington Post.
Imran Khan appreciated a high-level Congressional delegation of the United States who visited Azad and Jammu Kashmir a day earlier for their “continued active interest in the volatile situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir”.
“The ongoing lockdown in Occupied Kashmir for over two months, refusal of Indian authorities to lift the curfew, and acute shortage of basic necessities including medicine and food to the people incarcerated in the largest prison on earth were grave violations of the fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law,” the prime minister was cited as saying.
It was critical for the international community to raise their voice for respect of the rights and freedoms of the people in Occupied Kashmir, read the statement quoting the prime minister. “The international community must also take cognizance of the grave consequences of Indian actions for regional peace and stability and should act immediately.”
The communique added that the visit also provided an opportunity to exchange views on strengthening Pakistan-US ties and the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
PM Imran said that the relationship between Islamabad and Washington was based on mutual trust and partnership for peace while the senators affirmed that they would work for a broad-based and long-term relationship with enhanced trade ties between the two countries, according to the official statement.
While discussing the regional situation, PM Imran said: “Both Pakistan and the US has a shared interest in advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, US senators Christopher Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan also met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ and discussed the situation in the occupied valley, the military’s media wing.
The Afghan reconciliation process, as well as issues of mutual interest and overall regional security were discussed with the visiting dignitaries.
The US senators lauded Islamabad’s efforts for regional peace and stability.
General Qamar appreciated Washington’s understanding and support on resolving the Kashmir issue, as well as, Pakistan’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Both the sides stressed upon importance of strong bilateral relationship between the US and Pakistan in and beyond security cooperation.

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