SRINAGAR: Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward” as he asserted that the peace between the two neighbours would help to “unlock” the potential of South and Central Asia, reported Hindustan Times.

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File image of Gen Bajwa

Addressing a session of the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue here, Gen Bajwa also said that the potential for regional peace and development always remained hostage to the disputes and issues between Pakistan and India – the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

“The Kashmir issue is obviously at the heart of this. It is important to understand that without the resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means, [the] process of sub-continental rapprochement will always remain susceptible to derailment due to politically motivated bellicosity,”Pakistan newspaper Dawn quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.

“We feel it is time to bury the past and move forward,” Hindustan Times quoted Bajwa as having said, adding that the onus for meaningful dialogue rested with India. “Our neighbour will have to create a conducive environment, particularly in Kashmir.”

Bajwa’s comments come a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that India would have to make the first move to normalise ties with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Khan said on Wednesday said India will be benefitted economically by having peace with Pakistan as it will enable New Delhi to directly access the resource-rich Central Asia region through Pakistani territory.

“We are trying, but India would have to take the first step and unless it does that we cannot move ahead,” the prime minister had said while inaugurating the two-day dialogue.

“There is oly Kashmir issue that is stopping us [from improving relations]at this time. We will make our efforts but India must take the first step because after August 5, till they take the first step, then, unfortunately, we cannot move forward,” Hindustan Times quoted Khan as having said.

Kashmir Is Key To India Pakistan Friendship, Imran Khan Says

“Our issue basically is Kashmir and it is the only issue – how we can settle it through dialogue and establish a relationship as civilised neighbours,” newspaper Hindustan Times quoted Khan as having said, speaking in Urdu.

Khan noted that he had attempted to settle all issues with India after forming government in 2018. “Unfortunately, there was August 5 and that was a big blow and there was a total breakdown between the two countries,” he said.

“We still hope that they [India] give the Kashmiris the rights they were given by the UN Security Council to decide their own lives. It will be as beneficial for India as for Pakistan,” Khan was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times


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