Pakistan will not tolerate India’s ‘hegemony’ in region, says Sartaj Aziz


Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that India’s attitude “that it will not have a dialogue with Pakistan” is unreasonable, and that “Pakistan will not compromise itself to establish peace with India”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to establish himself as a “hegemonic power” in the region and his entire election campaign was built around an “anti-Pakistan sentiment”, Aziz said while talking to DawnNews on Sunday.

He accused India of hampering the efforts Pakistan had put forth for holding a dialogue to establish peace between the two countries, saying Modi “does not want to discuss the Kashmir issue except for examining the terrorism there”.

Aziz said that India tried to divert the focus on problems at the Line of Control and pushed the “terrorism rhetoric” when the Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani was murdered.

He said the world has “seen the human rights violations by India” in the region and various reputable rights group have reported them.

“We will not have a dialogue [with India]if there is no discussion on Kashmir,” he asserted, saying Pakistan will never accept “India’s hegemony”.

“Pakistan will not compromise itself to establish peace with India,” the adviser maintained.

Aziz hoped that once the provincial elections in India are over, “its attitude toward holding dialogue with Pakistan will change”.

When asked about India’s involvement in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said that any state can participate as a “sub-contractor” to improve the infrastructure being built under the project.

China and Pakistan have “mutually agreed” to review all such requests on a “case-by-case basis”, Aziz added.

On improving relationship with Afghanistan, the adviser said that when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was elected, “he expected Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the table though we did not have that much of an influence”.

“But somehow, six months later, we were able to arrange a meeting between Taliban and the Afghan government,” Aziz said, adding that after the first meeting a second one was scheduled the same month, on July 31, 2015.

“However, the elements that didn’t want this dialogue process to proceed announced the death of Mullah Omar, thus sabotaging the effort,” he said.

“Then Mullah Mansoor had to establish himself after his predecessor so the dialogue was further delayed,” Aziz said, adding that there was some progress made with the group after Mansoor but all that effort was rendered useless when the United States killed him in a drone strike.

“The fundamental issue here is that there is no consensus in Afghanistan, they themselves are not clear whether they should fight the Afghan Taliban or hold dialogue with them,” the foreign affairs adviser maintained.

“The same applies to the Taliban; some groups want to fight while others want to talk it out,” Aziz added.

“Pakistan emphasises that this process should be Afghan-owned. We can only facilitate it,” he stated, adding that moving forward, Pakistan “sincerely hopes” to improve relations with Afghanistan in 2017.

“The insurgency in Afghanistan can only be eliminated if the Afghan government takes charge of the prevailing situation in the country,” Aziz said, refuting the “perception” about Pakistan’s alleged involvement in causing the unrest there.



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