Taliban govt’s recognition should be collective process: PM Imran

–Says ending the stalemate in Pak-India ties conditional on the restoration of Kashmir status

ISLAMABADPrime Minister Imran Khan has stressed that the recognition of the Taliban government should be a collective process.

In an interview with Le Figaro, France, he said Pakistan believes that the more stable the Afghan government is, the less the terrorist groups can operate there.

Imran Khan said the last thing Pakistan wants is isolation by being the only country to recognize the Taliban government. If Pakistan is the first to grant recognition, the international pressure will become too much for us as we try to turn our economy around. We can only recover if we have good relations with the international community.

He said the Taliban government has made promises on the issues of inclusive government and human rights.

Imran Khan said Afghans should not be expected to respect women’s rights as Westerners understand them. But they do agree that girls should be educated.

Responding to a question, the Prime Minister said our first concern is the Refugees. If the humanitarian crisis worsens in Afghanistan, we will have an influx of refugees, while more than 240,000 have already fled their country after the fall of Kabul. We do not have the resources to accept more refugees.

He said Pakistan does not want international terrorism to operate from Afghanistan but this can only be done with the help of the Taliban government. We have already lost eighty thousand lives in the war on terrorism and we do not want a conflict with the Afghan government. We will be partners with the US in peace, not in war.

When asked about Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the Prime Minister said the attitude of the BJP government and the RSS towards Pakistan and Kashmir is worrisome.

“We are dealing with a government that is not rational, whose ideology is based on hatred of religious minorities and Pakistan. We cannot talk to them. We are at a dead-end,” he said.

He said talks with India at this point in time would be a betrayal of Kashmiri people who have suffered so much and who live in an open-air prison environment with 800,000 troops deployed in the region.

He, however, said it is possible to build a relationship with India, but this requires the restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy. They have violated international law with this abrogation.

“It is possible to build a relationship with India, but this requires the restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy. They have violated international law with this abrogation,” he said.

He said Kashmir remained a disputed area between Pakistan and India since 1947 and pointed out that it was natural to raise a voice in defense of the Kashmiris, especially as one-third of the territory was in Pakistan.

“Kashmir is directly a matter of concern for Pakistan,” he said.

As regards relations with France, the Prime Minister pointed out that about half of our exports go to the European Union, of which France is one of the most significant members. He said France is also our trading partner and he would like to meet President Macron to discuss bilateral ties. TF REPORT

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