Pakistan cannot “conquer Kashmir through war” and Islamabad can progress on the issue only in an environment of mutual trust with New Delhi, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said.
“I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war, and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue; and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust,” Ms Khar said in an interview with Geo News.
She claimed that the earlier Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, despite being a coalition government, tried its best to normalise ties with India through relaxation of visa rules and by normalising trade ties, adding that the present Nawaz Sharif regime can do much more as it enjoys majority.
“The issues between the two countries cannot be resolved in a hostile environment.”
Ms Khar, who remained Pakistan’s Foreign Minister from 2011 to 2013, maintained that the Kashmir issue can be resolved “if we continue to talk on the issue, then we will reach somewhere”.
Answering a question regarding the military’s influence on Pakistan’s foreign policy, she said that it is a “diplomat’s job to carry forward the military’s perspective on issues where the military is a relevant stakeholder”.
Ms Khar stated that some people believe that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved “if there is a BJP government in India and a military government in Pakistan”.
She observed that it is a fact that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf gave India adequate relaxation on the Kashmir issue during his tenure.