Kashmir conflict can only be resolved through dialogue: PM Imran Khan

COLOMBO: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that Kashmir is the only dispute between India and Pakistan, adding that this issue can only be resolved through dialogue.

PM made these remarks while addressing the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Conference organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) in Colombo, which he co-chaired with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The main object of this conference was to explore avenues of collaboration in diverse fields between the two counties.

PM Imran said: “Immediately when I came into power, I approached our neighbour India and explained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the way forward for the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue.”

“I didn’t succeed but I am optimistic that eventually, sense will prevail. The only way the subcontinent can tackle poverty is by improving trade relations. Let us live like civilised neighbours as the Europeans live,” he said.

PM Imran further added that Pakistan’s also offered mediation between China and the United States (US). “We would much rather be a country that brings other nations and humanity together.”

“Terrorism has affected both Pakistan and Sri Lanka and counties in the region can end poverty by establishing trade relations,” he added.

PM Imran also suggests the formulation of a block just like the European Union to promote trade.

Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Sri Lankan businesspersons to invest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He also invited the Sri Lankan prime minister to visit Pakistan. “We want to make Pakistan an economic hub,” he said.

The prime minister said Pakistan and Sri Lanka could explore the idea of generating wealth through joint business activities and diverting the wealth to alleviate poverty.

PM also offered the Sri Lankan businessmen to explore the immense opportunities offered by the government of Pakistan in the form of ease-of-doing-business.

The prime minister also touched on the relations between the two countries, saying that Pakistan could learn the most from Sri Lanka in terms of tourism. “You have a much more advanced tourism industry compared to us. Pakistan has enormous tourism potential but that potential has been limited to local tourism so far, not foreign tourism.”

Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Commerce Minister Abdul Razak Dawood and others have also attended t conference.

Both countries have shown willingness to engage in effective Business to Business (B2B) meetings for enhancing cooperation in key sectors including textile, pharmaceutical, construction, information technology (IT), agriculture and tourism.

Previously, Prime Minister Imran khan holds a One-on-One meeting with the President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the two discussed how to bring down the rising cost of food items.

PM Imran also tweeted regarding the meeting stated that: “Had an excellent mtg with President of Sri Lanka @GotabayaR. We discussed our common passion for poverty alleviation esp in our rural areas. We also exchanged views on how to give farmers more for their produce & get cheaper food & fruits to the population by using technology”

This comes as PM Imran is on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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