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Kashmir issue ‘cannot keep boiling’: Imran Khan

Kashmiri National Conference president Farooq Abdullah a ddressing an election rally in Srinagar.

Special Correspondent
Batting for dialogue with India, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has said that Kashmir issue has to be settled and “cannot keep boiling like it is”, the BBC reported.
“…peace with India over the disputed territory of Kashmir would be “tremendous” for the wider region,” Khan was quoted as having said by the BBC on Wednesday.
Khan, a former cricketer who became the prime minister eight months ago, said the nuclear-armed neighbours could only settle their differences with dialogue.
Asked what message he wanted to send to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his country, Mr Khan told the BBC’s John Simpson that the Kashmir issue “has to be settled” and “cannot keep boiling like it is”.
“The number-one tasks of the two governments is how are we going to reduce poverty and the way we reduce poverty is by settling our differences through dialogue and there is only one difference – which is Kashmir,” he said.
Khan, as per the report, said the Confrontation was very dangerous for both India and Pakistan. “Once you respond, no-one can predict where it can go from there,” he said.
If India had “come back and then again attacked Pakistan, Pakistan would have no choice but to respond,” he added. “So in that situation, two nuclear-armed countries, I just felt it was very irresponsible.”
Earlier, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal has said that Islamabad will never accept India repealing Article 370 of its Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Faisal made the remark during his weekly press briefing on Friday, reported Radio Pakistan.
“Pakistan will never accept the repeal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution… Kashmiri people will also not allow this to happen ever.
“Besides violating the rights of Kashmiris, it will also contravene relevant UNSC (UN Security Council) Resolutions,” the spokesman said while replying to a question.
Article 370 was incorporated in India’s Constitution in October 1949. It exempts Jammu and Kashmir from the country’s Constitution, while allowing the state to draft its own.
It also gives power to the state legislature to define Jammu and Kashmir’s residents and their privileges.
In the briefing, Faisal regretted that India postponed the Kartarpur Corridor meeting earlier this week.
“Indian side has expressed willingness to attend a technical-level meeting on the issue on 15th and 16th of this month, which will hopefully set the pace for further talks,” Radio Pakistan quoted the spokesman as saying.
He reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to complete its side of Kartarpur Corridor before the 550th birth anniversary of Sikh founder Guru Nanak later this year.
Faisal also announced that Pakistan was releasing 360 Indian prisoners — 483 fishermen, 54 civilian—on humanitarian basis upon completion of their sentences from April 8 onwards.
One hundred fishermen was already released on Monday (April 8) with another batch of hundred on the 15th of this month.
“It will be followed by the release of additional 100 fishermen on April 22.”
He said the last batch of 60 Indian prisoners—five fishermen, 55 civilians—will be released on April 29
J&K will be ‘aazad’ if Articles 370, 35A go: Farooq
On the day the BharatiyaJanata Party released its election manifesto, reiterating it will abrogate Articles 370 and 35A, Kashmiri politicians dared it to go ahead with the plan, saying it will pave way for “aazadi”.
Addressing an election rally in Srinagar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said the government of India has been saying it will abrogate Article 370.
“Go and do it. The moment you do, it will end J&K’s accession with the Union of India. Let them do it and we will become aazad (free),” said Abdullah.
Then, Abdullah said, nobody will “be left to raise the tricolor in Jammu and Kashmir”.
The NC leader and former chief minister said J&K was a Muslim majority state and nobody can change this reality.
Abdullah said the government of India wants to “change demography” of the state by abrogating Article 35A, which defines permanent residents of the state and gives them exclusive rights to purchase property and get jobs.
“Do you think that by abrogating Article 35A you can snatch our rights? You are wrong. Nobody (from outside) can own land and property here…” Abdullah said.
“They (BJP) want to abrogate Article 35A and settle non-state subjects here and change our numbers and demography. We will fight against this design,” he added.
Echoing Abdullah, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said the moment BJP government decides to abrogate Article 370, it will “automatically free Jammu and Kashmir from the country”.
He said the Article was a bridge that connects J&K with the Union of India.
“Once you break that bridge Indian rule will become illegal in Kashmir. It will become an occupational force,” Mehbooba told reporters at her residence.
The PDP chief said the rightwing party has “failed” on all fronts and was now looking for issues that can fetch it votes.
“Jammu and Kashmir is sitting on a powder keg. If BJP doesn’t stop such statements, the state will go up in flames which will not only consume entire country but the subcontinent,” said Mehbooba. “I’m warning BJP to stop playing with fire.”

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