Pakistan offers conditional peace, India says onus on Islamabad to end terror

Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa reportedly said India and Pakistan should “bury the past and move forward” towards cooperation. Sources in India said that while India desired peace, Pakistan will first have to end “terrorism” emanating from there country.

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that “stable” Indo-Pak relations is a “key” to unlock the untapped potential of South and Central Asia by ensuring connectivity between East and West Asia.

Addressing a session of the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue, General Bajwa said that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward” but added a condition and said that for “resumption of peace process or meaningful dialogue”, India will have to create a “conducive environment”, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources in India said that while India desired peace, Pakistan will first have to end “terrorism” emanating from their own country.

The Pakistani Army chief also said that the potential of the region has “forever remained hostage to disputes and issues between two nuclear neighbours”.

Calling the Kashmir dispute the “heart of this problem”, General Bajwa said, “It is important to understand that without the resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, the process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity”.

India and Pakistan had announced on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors. The ceasefire continues to hold, which is a positive sign.

India had last month said that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India had said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

This came in the wake of General Bajwa’s earlier offer of peace, which was also replete with conditions.

“Our position is well known. India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. The onus is on Pakistan for creating such an environment,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said during his weekly briefing on February 4.

The response was in wake of a proposal by Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue in a “dignified and peaceful manner” between India and Pakistan.

General Bajwa was speaking at the graduation ceremony at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Asghar Khan Academy in Risalpur in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on February 2.

He had said, “Pakistan and India must resolve the longstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a dignified and peaceful manner as per the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Pakistan’s overtures are being seen as acting under tremendous international pressure that Islamabad is under be it from America or for that matter at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is yet to take it off the grey list. Pakistan needs to convince the international community that it is a country that is working towards peace.

Source: India Today

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