Karachi (KMS): Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that normalizing relations with India will be tantamount to betraying the people of Kashmir.
Answering public queries on Sunday, Imran said that he tried his best on the very first day in power to improve relations with India and to sort out the Kashmir issue through dialogue. “But keeping in view the current situation, if we try to normalize relations with India, it will be akin to stabbing the people of Kashmir in the back,” he added.
He said all the sacrifices and struggle of the Kashmiri people will go to waste and Pakistan does not want it to happen. He maintained that Pakistan always stood by the people of Kashmir and will continue to support their struggle.
The Prime Minister said that there was “no doubt” that the benefits would be immense if relations with India improved and trade and connectivity started, citing examples from other parts of the world such as the formation of the European Union which, he said, had benefited all member countries.
“There is no doubt that our trade will improve but all their blood will be wasted, so this cannot happen,” the prime minister emphasised, saying Pakistan stood with the Kashmiris and was aware of the kind of sacrifices they had given and were giving.
“So this cannot happen that our trade improves at [the cost of] their blood,” he said.
India had repealed Article 370 of its constitution on Aug 5 that year and thus revoked occupied Kashmir’s special autonomy. Pakistan had subsequently downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and then suspended bilateral trade with it.
“If India takes back the steps it took on August 5, then we can definitely hold talks and build a road map to sort out the Kashmir issue,” the premier highlighted.
Regarding the Palestine crisis, the premier said the occupation of land and settlements have been ongoing in Palestine for a while, reducing it to a small country.
He said this cycle of Israeli forces’ oppression of Palestinians, leading to protests and then the use of barbaric force in response has been continuing for several years.
“There are two things that can happen. Either ethnic cleansing, when Muslims and Jews were expelled from Spain […] which cannot be allowed. Or a two-state solution, a homeland for the Palestinians,” said the prime minister.
He said with the hue and cry being witnessed on social media, where the world has woken up to the cruelty the Palestinians are being subjected to, the winds are blowing for the latter to occur.
Responding to a call on the scarcity of water in Sindh, the prime minister said that the government has planned to build 10 dams in the next 10 years. “The dams will enable the country to deal with the needs of the burgeoning population and address shortage of water.”
“This will also help the government to distribute the water evenly to provinces,” he stated. He regretted that the telemetry system that indicates how much water is going to each province is just not working, but the government is working on having these placed everywhere.
PM Imran Khan also said distribution within provinces is also a problem, with farmers unable to get the share of water they should.
He said it is the responsibility of the Sindh government to ensure that the powerful do not take away the share of poor farmers.
To a query about health cards, the PM said that the government’s initiative to provide health cards to the people is a blessing as the poor cannot afford costly treatments. He said that the facility helps those with low income and the scheme has been extended all over the country.
“The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has provided billions of rupees to people in the form of health cards,” he said.
Speaking about illegal housing schemes, Imran Khan said a committee has been formed that will ascertain which ones need to be shut down and which ones have been developed to an extent that they cannot be pulled down.
He said that the owners of such illegal housing schemes will instead be fined and the societies will be regularised. He said the government will work on legislation to criminalize building such societies.
Courtesy: Business Recorder with an input from daily Dawn