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ISLAMABAD: Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Sunday said Pakistan cannot “conquer Kashmir through war” and progress on the issue can only me made in an environment of mutual trust with India.
“I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue, and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust,” Khar said in an interview with Geo News.
She claimed that the PPP government, despite being a coalition government, had tried its best to normalise ties with India through relaxation of visa rules and by normalising trade ties.
“The issues between the two countries cannot be resolved in a hostile environment.”
Khar, who remained Pakistan’s foreign minister from 2011 to 2013, maintained that the Kashmir issue can be resolved “if we continue to talk on the issue, then we will reach somewhere”.
Answering a question regarding the military’s influence on Pakistan’s foreign policy, she said that it is a diplomat’s job to carry forward the military’s perspective on issues where the military is a relevant stake holder.
Khar stated some people believe that the issue can only be resolved “if there is a BJP government in India and a military government in Pakistan”.
Khar observed that Musharraf gave India adequate relaxation on the Kashmir issue during his tenure.
When asked about the recent downturn in Pak-US ties and the US’ tilt towards India, the former foreign minister said the US tilt towards India is driven by economy, market and because of a wish to contain the rising power of China.
“Now let us ask ourselves, is US moving towards India because India is a nuclear state, or because it is a military power, no, it is people power and their democratic traditions, if we want to compete, lets compete on these grounds,” said Khar.
The former foreign minister also termed Pakistan’s entry into Afghan Jihad a ‘mistake’ and maintained that Pakistan’s dependence on US is more in “our minds than on the ground”.
She termed it as Zia’s mistake for helping the US in the 80s, and added Musharraf had no option when it came to helping the US in 2001.
Criticising the approach and the performance of ministry of foreign affairs, she asked if the foreign office has turned into a political office.
“The foreign office is busy nowadays in apprising the nation about some country’s leader sending flowers to the prime minister or inquiring about his health,” said Khar.
Khar maintained that Pakistan’s current foreign policy is “reactive and not active” as Pakistan is not taking its own line or direction but is only reacting on the circumstances arising in the region or world at large.
“In 60 years, we have taught our children that our national identity is to hate someone, and we are doing it with those who are physically the nearest. Hostile with India and now hostile with Afghanistan,” said the former foreign minister.
Summing up her answer, she maintained that the basic objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy should be to serve the people of the country and not the pursuit of power.