BEIJING, China: The Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said both Pakistan and India required sincere efforts to solve their issues, and being a neighbor China could help reduce tensions between the two nuclear powers.
“We will welcome if China plays any role to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan,” Khawaja Asif said in an interview with ‘THE HEAT’, a Chinese daily news talk program.
The minister said China was neighbor of Pakistan and India, and there were substantial trade relations between China and India.
Asif said since both Pakistan and China had now become members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); therefore, the organization could also play a mediating role between Islamabad and New Delhi.
“Once we start talking, other thing will fall in place automatically,” he commented.
In reply to a question, Khawaja Asif said Pakistan’s demand to the United Nations for appointing an envoy over Kashmir would help find out what was really going on in occupied Kashmir. He said it was a legitimate demand having a lot of precedents in the past.
The foreign minister said killing, maiming and blinding of Kashmiri youth had been going on for the last many years particularly during last 14 months which was unbearable for the people of Kashmir. He said brutal treatment of innocent Kashmirs had been raised in media and international forums by different human rights organizations.
The minister further said there were 66 terrorist organizations operating and more than a dozen separatist movements going on in India but they always blamed Pakistan at international forums just to divert world’s attention from the situation in occupied Kashmir.
Talking about China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the minister said it was a game changer for not only Pakistan but for the whole region as it would usher in a new era of economic relationship between different Countries of the region and help reduce the political tension.
“At present there is hardly any trade between the countries in the region but once the CPEC, a pilot project of Belt and Road Initiative is completed, it will provide economic and trade connectivity to all the countries in the region,” he said.
Asif opined that economic relationship between different Countries of the region would have political affects and would help lessen the political tension because of their inter-dependence.
“The trade, tourism and people to people contacts will soften the tense situation in the region,” he maintained.
The foreign minister said a lot of investment, industries was coming in Pakistan under the CPEC framework and it would get connected with other Countries to the CPEC and Gwadar port.
To a question, he explained investment being made under CPEC was not a debt rather it was an income based or tariff based arrangement. “Our economy is picking up and the Country has enough inflow of cash to make the payments,” he added.
To yet another question, the minister said the United States was part of different mechanisms or platforms available to deal with Afghan problem.
“The US is part and parcel of the arrangements for solution to Afghan problem. The US role will be there,” he said.
Khawaja Asif also called the US’s reiteration of “safe havens” inside Pakistan as exaggeration, and explained more than 40 percent area of Afghanistan was under physical control of Afghan Taliban, “then why, they will need our area. It is not logical.”
To a question about military reimbursement from the United States, the minister said the US authorities had been making payments to Pakistan for the logistic support.
“We have done a lot for free also as our space and infrastructure was used free of cost,” he said. “We have very serious commitments to peace in Afghanistan as it hurts Pakistan, our economy and our common life.”