UK neither mediates nor prescribes a solution of Kashmir: British Foreign Secretary

Islamabad: The United Kingdom took a clear position on Kashmir and advised India and Pakistan to start dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir. When asked about the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian forces in the Indian held Kashmir, the British Foreign Secretary said, “We encourage both sides to maintain a positive dialogue.” Johnson said it was not for the UK to “prescribe a solution or mediate”. “The long standing position of the UK is India and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account of the Kashmiri people,” he said.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who is on the tour of Pakistan said in a joint press conference with Advisor to prime minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He urged both Pakistan and India to exercise restraint. “Of course, we are concerned about the recent incidents on both sides of Line of Control in Kashmir and we call for end to violence,” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said.

“Look at this area, look at this incredible human potential of Pakistan and its neighbours, and then imagine what a future could be like if this was sorted out,” Boris Johnson said. He said on both sides, there was a great economic, commercial potential with scope for penetration of goods services and capital. “What an incredible boom zoom this would be. That’s the objective … the mutual syncretism of economies,” Johnson added.

Sartaj Aziz said the two sides shared concern over the increased tension along the LoC and it was stressed for the need of dialogue and negotiations for the resolution of problem, “otherwise the issue could become more serious”. He said the meeting with British Foreign Secretary focused on promoting trade, increasing investment and cultural cooperation, adding Pakistan and UK had been cooperating under the framework of Enhanced Strategic Dialogue since 2011.


He mentioned that during the ministerial review meeting held this May, the two sides agreed on three new roadmaps on investment, cultural education and security. “Today, we agreed to intensify our efforts to a meaningful mutually beneficial progress especially focusing on trade and investment under this framework,” he said.

He appreciated UK’s assistance and support to Pakistan in key areas, particularly in education and health sectors. He expressed confidence that under the leadership of British Prime Minister Theresa May, the Pak-UK bilateral relations would be enhanced for the benefit of the peoples of two countries. Sartaj said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had extended invitation to Theresa May to visit Pakistan in 2017.

Boris Johnson said “wonderful and long meeting” with Sartaj Aziz discussed security, trade and intellectual and cultural cooperation. He emphasized on enhancing trade and commercial activities between Pakistan and the UK, adding that the two countries could have done a much better than the 2.5 billion pounds of their bilateral trade.

“We have agreed to launch a programme of business engagement focusing not just on the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue but also on the opportunity of the celebration of Pakistan’s 70th anniversary next year,” he said. Johnson said the UK would like to take the economic relation with Pakistan to a new level. He termed the Pak-UK relations of having “vital, historic and great importance”. He said it was privilege to visit Pakistan for first time, “a country having close, deep and indivisible links with my country”.

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