ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan has said the Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through military means or through militancy, adding that the problem can only be solved politically.
“A delay in resolution of the long-running dispute has kept the people of India and Pakistan hostage and it is proving to be a big hurdle to progress and prosperity in the region,” Mr Khan said while speaking at a joint press conference with leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) here on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, he said, there had been a big change in approach and thinking after the 9/11 incident and liberation movements of Muslims were being dubbed ‘terrorism’.
“We are concerned over the plight and blood-letting in Kashmir. We support withdrawal of Indian forces from Kashmir and a political solution to the problem,” he added.
Mr Khan said his party was opposed to military solution to political problems, adding that the present leaderships in both India and Pakistan were not capable of taking big decisions like the Kashmir dispute. After coming to power, the PTI would take solid steps to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris, he added.
Mr Khan said the subcontinent was among the most poverty-stricken regions in the world and this could be tackled only if there was peace in the region. But, he said, peace could not be restored without resolving the Kashmir dispute.
APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said Kashmiris should be included in India-Pakistan dialogue. “We are not against India-Pakistan talks and better relations between them, but Kashmiri leaders should be included in the dialogue.”
He regretted that there had been improvement in the relations between India and Pakistan, but there was no breakthrough as far as the Kashmir issue was concerned.
“The Kashmir issue should be given importance.”
He was of the opinion that better relations between the two countries on a permanent basis were not possible without resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
The Mirwaiz urged New Delhi to do away with the black laws being applied in the Indian-held Kashmir and remove Indian forces from there. Kashmiris living on both sides of the border should be freely allowed to hold negotiations and meetings and do trade with each other.
The APHC leader said India also realised that sentiments of the people of Kashmir could not be suppressed through use of force.
“Political dialogue is the only solution,” he added.