Kashmir or N. Cyprus, Pakistan & Turkey support each other on all core issues: PM

Islamabad, May 31 (KMS): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan and Turkey support each other on all issues of core national interest – whether it is Jammu and Kashmir or Northern Cyprus.

The prime minister in an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu thanked the leadership of Turkey for its principled support on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “Both Pakistan and Turkey have a similarity of views on regional and international issues and enjoy close collaboration on bilateral, regional, and multilateral forums,” he said ahead of his three-day official visit to Turkey.

Terming the Pak-Turkey relations as “exemplary”, Shehbaz Sharif said historical relations were grounded firmly in common religious, cultural, and linguistic links and transcend political changes on either side.

He mentioned that both countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. “In these seven and a half decades, the two sides have always stood by each other in the face of all changes,” he said.

On relations with India, Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan pursued its shift from geo-strategy to geo-economics, we are looking to forge partnerships, especially within the region, based on connectivity, collective development, and prosperity. Pakistan and India have a lot to gain from mutually beneficial trade, he said.

However, he mentioned that in the aftermath of India’s illegal and unilateral steps of 05 August 2019 on Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Pakistan took a principled stance and curtailed a range of bilateral activities. “This decision reflected Pakistan’s unequivocal condemnation of the reprehensible Indian design of depriving the beleaguered Kashmiris of their fundamental rights through an unjust and muscular policy,” he said.

He highlighted that in the wake of continued brutalization of the Kashmiri people, attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory (IIOJK), and continued denial by India of the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, it was hard to imagine that progress can be made on the trade front.

“For normalization of relations, India must revisit its actions of August 05, 2019, and not seek further division, bifurcation, and demographic changes in the occupied territory to perpetuate its illegal occupation,” he said. In order to accrue the utmost benefit from mutually beneficial trade, the onus lies with India to create a conducive environment for dialogue and engagement, he added.

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