Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘exciting’ time to be in Russia as its President Vladimir Putin waged a ‘military operation’ against Ukraine also saw another significant development. The Pakistan PM raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir with Putin as they sat in Kremlin together.
As the Russian forces moved to occupy Ukraine on Thursday, Khan at the same time underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, the official APP news agency of Pakistan reported. He also committed to a “long-term and multidimensional” relationship with Moscow.
Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, is the first Pakistani premier to visit Russia in 23 years after former premier Nawaz Sharif travelled to Moscow in 1999. He was in the country from February 23 to 24, at a time when the Russian military invaded Ukraine amid growing tensions, accompanied by senior officials and members of his cabinet.
The Pakistan Prime Minister also highlighted the developments detrimental to regional peace and stability and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance, the Pakistan news agency report said.
“On the situation in South Asia, the Prime Minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in IIOJK and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister also highlighted the developments detrimental to regional peace and stability and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance,” a press statement by the Pakistan government said.
The statement also said that Khan “regretted the latest situation between Russia and Ukraine”, hoping ” diplomacy could avert a military conflict.”
“He underlined Pakistan’s belief that disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy,” the statement further noted.
Khan’s discussion with Putin on Kashmir came weeks after the Russian Embassy in India said that the country would not interfere in bilateral issues of India and Pakistan, adding that the countries’ issues should be solved only via the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration.
“The solution should be found between India and Pakistan only, and it should be based on the achieved agreements, including the Simla Agreement of 1972 and the Lahore Declaration of 1999,” the Russian Embassy had said said.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country.
India has also told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
(With inputs from PTI)