Would welcome Russia as potential mediator in settling Kashmir Conflict: Shafqat Ali Khan

Would welcome Russia as potential mediator in settling Kashmir Conflict - Shafqat Ali Khan

Pakistan would welcome Russia’s efforts to mediate peace in the longstanding conflict between Islamabad and New Delhi over the Kashmir region, Pakistani Ambassador to Russia Shafqat Ali Khan told in an interview.

“As as friends we can’t force Russia, but we would welcome any positive mediatory role Russia can play,” Khan said.

Russia’s good standing as a sought-after mediator comes from its international standing and good relations with both conflict parties, the ambassador said.

“Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. And it has historically very strong relations with India. It has excellent relations with Pakistan. And it has been playing a positive role in the settlement of regional disputes everywhere in Asia, in the Middle East, the greater Middle East, Africa. Its diplomacy overall is very positive. So we would welcome,” he said.

The Kashmir conflict is a complicated case to mediate where three dimensions of concern are intertwined, according to the diplomat.

One is human rights and another one is the legal aspects, which remains on the UN Security Council agenda.

There is also the security dimension, as both conflict parties possess nuclear weapons and this means that any small incident on the border has the potential of escalating, the Pakistani ambassador said.

“We remain open to dialogue [with India]. And we aspire to a kind of a time of greater peace and reconciliation in South Asia. It can unleash our energies for a positive outcome, development of human resource and economic development basically,” he said.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947. The bilateral relationship hit a new low in 2019 after the Indian government stripped the Jammu and Kashmir state of its special status and broke it up into two union territories under the direct rule of New Delhi. Pakistan responded by expelling the Indian ambassador and halting bilateral trade.

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