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War not an option to deal with Kashmir issue: Mahmood Qureshi


Islamabad, Aug 31: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that war was not an option when it comes to dealing with the Kashmir issue, amidst fresh India-Pakistan tensions over New Delhi revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

His remarks came at a time when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been repeatedly threatening nuclear war with India over Kashmir after his efforts to internationalise the matter failed to gain any traction.

Mahmood Qureshi

Asserting that the abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making "irresponsible statements".

In an interview to BBC Urdu published on August 31, Qureshi said Pakistan had never followed an aggressive policy and always preferred peace, adding that the current government of Pakistan had repeatedly offered to start talks with India because the two nuclear armed neighbours could not take the risk of going to war.

War was not an option to deal with the issue of Kashmir, the Pakistan Foreign Minister emphasised.

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He reiterated that Kashmir was an international issue and not just a bilateral affair between Pakistan and India.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated certain provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, thereby revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times on August 29, Khan again warned that if the world did nothing to stop India's decision on Kashmir, the two nuclear-armed countries would get ever closer to a "direct military confrontation".

Khan said when he was elected Prime Minister last August, one of his foremost priorities was to work for lasting and just peace in South Asia, and that all his efforts to start a dialogue for peace have been rebuffed by India.

India-Pakistan engagement broke down after the attack on the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot in January 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists. India has maintained that that talks and terror cannot go together.

Earlier this year, tensions flared up between the two nations after a suicide bomber of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the IAF carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

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