Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Wednesday said that before establishing trade links with India, it was essential to talk about the Kashmir conflict as without addressing that issue, it was challenging to have normal relations with the Indian government.

The prime minister, while addressing the annual Margalla Dialogue 2023 conference held by Islamabad Policy Research Institute on “Evolving World Environment: Charting the Course for Our Future,” highlighted the potential for connectivity with regional countries, including India, and said Pakistan never shied away from establishing trade links with its eastern neighbour but it could not beg for it as trade should be for mutual benefits.

The interim PM, who had also been the IPRI’s board member, told the gathering that the Kashmir issue demanded attention aligned with the aspirations of its people as, despite promises and UN guarantees, the Kashmiris could not be given their right to self-determination. Postponing the issue is not a solution as the historical resilience against colonization is evident, he added.

Kakar said, unlike India, Pakistan never incentivised the conflicts. Referring to the Hindutva ideology infesting Indian society, he said such policies were a recipe for disaster. Kakar said Pakistan was faced with the challenge of non-state actors but the country was prepared to respond to that, without needing anyone’s tangible assistance.

Calling Israeli barbarism in Palestine unparalleled even in the medieval era, Kakar reprimanded the world’s double standards on war ethos and its “bizarre and surreal” rationalisation of the killing of children in Gaza. Referring to his discussions with some diplomats who defended Israeli actions by citing Israeli children’s deaths, he expressed his surprise at the argument. However, he reiterated that the killing of any child, regardless of faith or origin, is condemnable. “So how many Palestinian children have to be killed to appease and address the Israeli anger? One, five, ten, 500, 1000, 4,700? Can they give us a number so that we can satisfy those parents to wait as some 10,000 children needed to be killed to address the Israeli anger,” he remarked. He said those claiming to be the followers of Prophet Moses (AS), were actually following the footsteps of Pharaoh by killing the children which was “utterly unacceptable”.

On climate change, Caretaker Prime Minister Kakar said it was becoming an existential threat even more than a military challenge as recent floods caused massive devastation. This challenge cannot be overcome by a single power or group of powers

Earlier, IPRI President Ambassador Raza Muhammad told the gathering that the conference featured six forums. Meanwhile, chairing a meeting on the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project at the PM House, Kakar said the railway project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would prove a favourable transit route for regional countries. The meeting was told that the ML-1 project was in its f

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