Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday set conditions for dialogue with India on the Kashmir dispute, demanding that local politicians be released and prohibitory orders be removed from the state.
“Pakistan has never refused to negotiate with India, but the atmosphere was not conducive for dialogue right now,” said Qureshi in an interview with BBC.
“In an environment where curfew is imposed, people are suffering with life and death situation, gangrapes are taking place, people are incarcerated, I don’t see any negotiating environment,” Qureshi said in the interview.
“I think if India is serious then release the Kashmiri leaders first and allow me to meet the Kashmiri leadership and consult. I have to see the sentiments of the Kashmiri leadership. Pakistan cannot sit at the negotiation table by disrespecting their sentiments and crushing Kashmiris’ feelings,” he said.
“There are three sides involved in the Kashmir dispute: India, Pakistan and Kashmir, he claimed.
“Islamabad had always preferred peace and had repeatedly offered to start talks with India because the two nuclear-armed neighbours could not take the risk of going to war. People of both countries will be destroyed by [war], the world will be affected by this, so war is not an option,” he told BBC Urdu.