Pakistan stresses the importance of peace and stability in South Asia to reap economic dividends

Published : March 23, 2021 21:11 IST

Aftab Hasan Khan, Charge d' Affaires, Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, on the occasion of Pakistan Day, in New Delhi on March 23. Photo: PTI

Pakistan once again signalled today its willingness to resolve all bilateral issues with India, saying that dialogue for durable peace and stability was essential. This follows Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Bajwa’s recent statements underlining that peace in the region would translate into tapping of the resources-rich Central Asian region.

On the sidelines of Pakistan Day celebrations at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Aftab Hasan Khan, Charges D’Affaires of the mission, told reporters today: “On this occasion, I would…like to emphasise that peace and stability in this region is essential for development of all the countries.

“For durable peace and stability, it is essential that we resolve all bilateral issues with negotiations, through dialogue, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, which is also essential and pending and a long-standing issue before the United Nations.”

India and Pakistan last month announced a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all the other sectors.

General Qamar Bajwa recently said that, “We feel that it is time to bury the past and move forward.” Earlier, on March 17, Imran Khan said if peace was given a chance, India and the entire neighbourhood in South Asia could leverage economic dividends through trade in the resources-rich Central Asian region.

Aftab Hasan Khan also said that peace in the region would mean more focus on issues such as poverty alleviation and illiteracy.

“It is necessary that instead of military prowess, we endeavour to alleviate poverty and eliminate illiteracy and also make efforts to achieve feats to deal with epidemics and climate change. It is only possible when peace and stability is ensured in this region,” he said.

However, like Imran Khan and General Bajwa, he appeared to make peace contingent on the resolution of the Kashmir conflict. “For this, all our issues must be settled by dialogue, especially the Jammu and Kashmir issue which has been pending for 70 years,” he added.

India maintains that a meaningful dialogue is possible only in a terror-free environment and the onus is on Pakistan to create it.