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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office on Friday insisted that “there is no change in Pakistan’s policy on India on which there is national consensus”, a day after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari emphasized the need for engagement with India for a greater economic integration between the two neighbouring countries.

Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar while referring to Bilawal’s remarks regarding relations with India in his address at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Thursday, said that the remarks were being interpreted “out of context and portrayed incorrectly” in certain media reports.

“There is no change in Pakistan’s policy on India on which there is national consensus. Pakistan has always desired cooperative relations with all its neighbours, including India. We have consistently advocated constructive engagement and result-oriented dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said.

“It is, however, India’s unabated hostility and retrogressive steps that have vitiated the environment and impeded the prospects of peace and cooperation. The onus, therefore, remains on India to take the necessary steps to create an enabling environment conducive for meaningful and result-oriented dialogue,” he added.

He stated that the foreign minister clearly articulated this perspective, referring to India’s illegal and unilateral actions in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) since 5 August 2019, describing them as an assault on the rights of the Kashmiri people, as well as rising Islamophobia in India, that created an environment unconducive for meaningful engagement.

“The foreign minister’s remarks are better understood in the overall context of his key message of conflict resolution that he emphasized in his address at the think-tank event,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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