Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday alleged the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leaders from Kashmir as a “public relations exercise” that achieved nothing.
Qureshi said the talks held on Thursday were an effort to restore India and Prime Minister Modi’s reputation after the hit it took internationally in the wake of “India’s repressive measures in Kashmir on August 5, 2019, when the region’s special autonomy was removed”.
“In my view, it was a drama and why was it a drama? Because at best it could be called a public relations exercise but nothing was achieved (from it),” Pakistan daily Dawn quoted Foreign Minister Qureshi saying it at a press conference in Islamabad.
Qureshi said that nothing would be gained from the “unsuccessful and pointless” talks.
“Kashmiris are still in search of their identity. They are demanding their autonomous status and independence. They want security and are not accepting the demographic restructuring,” he added.
Stating the Kashmiri politicians had unanimously called for a reversal of the steps taken on August 5, 2019, during the meeting, Qureshi said: “We can clearly analyse from the discourse which has come out that they wish for the full-fledged restoration of statehood.”
The Foreign Minister said the politicians had gotten no concrete answer on their demands, adding they were instead told that statehood could be restored at an opportune time.
“This is very vague. What is an opportune time? Two years have passed and how many more Kashmiri lives will have to be sacrificed?” he asked.
The Foreign Minister further said the Kashmiris’ lack of confidence and trust had also been raised in the talks as well as the anger and pain being felt by them.
Alleging the discussions had shown present conditions in Kashmir to be contrary to New Delhi’s claims of “development and prosperity”, Qureshi said: “So the perception is not that prosperity has arrived or will arrive. Only destruction has arrived.”
The Pakistan Foreign Minister’s remarks came a day after Prime Minister Modi held an all-party meeting with the leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for deliberation on political progress in the Union Territory, after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.