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No talks with India until IOK situation changes: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday talks with India were out of question in the ongoing situation in IOK since India revoked its special status in August. The prime minister said this in a meeting with United States Senators Chris Van Hollen and Maggi Hassan, who met to share their observations with the prime minister about their recent visit to Azad Kashmir.

The premier said there would be no talks with India. He said Indian PM Narendra Modi has distorted the face of India in front of the whole world, adding that he is not certain himself of the current face of India.

Imran Khan said he was the biggest supporter of Pakistan-India talks; however, it is impossible until the situation is changed for the better in occupied Kashmir.

The premier also thanked the US senators for cooperation on the issue of Kashmir. US Senator Chris Van Hollen was this week refused entry into IOK during a trip to India, according to international media reports.Hollen is part of a group of US senators who have expressed serious concern over the alarming human rights situation in IOK, which has been under a military curfew since August 5.

US Congress members Tahir Javed and US charge’d affairs Paul Jones were also part of the delegation. A sub-committee of the United States House of Representatives will on October 22 hold a hearing on the human rights violations being carried out by India in IOK.

The visit also provided an opportunity to exchange views on strengthening Pakistan-US relations and the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. Discussing the regional situation, the prime minister noted that both Pakistan and the US had a shared interest in advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Reiterating Pakistan’s continued commitment to facilitation of a political solution in Afghanistan, the prime minister underlined the importance of earliest resumption of the US-Taliban peace talks.

The US senators also called on Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters. During the meeting, issues of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including the Afghan reconciliation process and Kashmir issue were discussed, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release said.

Visiting dignitaries acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace and stability. The COAS appreciated the US understanding and support on all the need for resolving Kashmir and for Pakistan’s efforts in Afghanistan. Both sides stressed upon the importance of strong bilateral relationship between the US and Pakistan in and beyond security cooperation.

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