Give peace a chance: Imran to Modi

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Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday urged Prime Minister NarendraModi to “give peace a chance”.
On Saturday, Modi had asked Khan to keep his word as a ‘Pathan’ and fight poverty and illiteracy together with India instead of fighting each other.
Quoting Khan, a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, said: “In my meeting with PM Modi in December 2015, we had agreed that since poverty alleviation is a priority for our region, we would not allow any militancy incident to derail peace efforts. However long before Pulwama, these efforts were derailed in September 2018.” Khan was referring to India’s cancellation of a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last year. “Sadly, now peace remains elusive due to elections in India,” Khan said.
The exchange of remarks between Khan and his Indian counterpart comes amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following the attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama.
In response to India’s allegations over Pulwama attack, Prime Minister Khan promised to conduct an investigation if New Delhi provided “actionable evidence” but also warned that Pakistan will “retaliate” if attacked.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the foreign office expressed concerns over the expected hearing of petitions in the Supreme Court of India calling for scrapping of Article 35-A of the Indian constitution.
“Pakistan condemns any such attempts as these are clearly aimed at bringing about demographic changes in J&K,” the statement read. “Any move in this direction would be a blatant violation of international law and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit introducing material changes to the disputed territory.”
The FO statement also expressed grave concern at the “evolving situation” in Kashmir. “Following retaliatory attacks against Kashmiris in several parts of India after the Pulawama attack, the Indian government has demonstrated further heavy-handedness with enhanced use of force, large-scale arrests, and incarceration of senior Kashmiri leaders. The large-scale deployment of additional paramilitary forces, and orders by the local administration to hospitals and about sale of fuel and food grains, are contributing to an atmosphere of extreme intimidation and fear. Immediate steps are required to reverse this frenzy and restore calm,” the statement read. The FO further called upon the international community to “take cognisance of the situation and counsel India to refrain from further escalation, defuse current tensions and resolve issues through dialogue and engagement”. (Courtesy DAWN)

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