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India, Pakistan must resolve Jammu & Kashmir issue peacefully: Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa

General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s remarks assume significance as it hints at possible softening of Pakistan’s stand on Jammu & Kashmir and the country’s aim to improve bilateral ties with India.

Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on February 2 that India and Pakistan must resolve the Jammu and Kashmir issue in a “dignified and peaceful manner”.

Pakistan, Bajwa said, is a peace-loving country and committed to peaceful co-existence in the region. “We stand firmly committed to the ideal of mutual respect and peaceful co-existence. It is time to extend hand of peace in all directions,” the Army chief was quoted by local media as saying. He was addressing a graduation ceremony at Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s Asghar Khan Academy at Risalpur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Bajwa was the chief guest at the event where Pakistani Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan was also present, according to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate press release cited by local media.

“Pakistan and India must also resolve the longstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a dignified and peaceful manner as per the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir and bring this human tragedy to its logical conclusion,” Bajwa said.

However, Bajwa also added that the country will “not allow anybody or any entity to misinterpret our desire for peace as a sign of weakness”.

Bajwa’s remarks assume significance as it hints at possible softening of Pakistan’s stand on J&K and the country’s aim to improve bilateral ties with India.

India has repeatedly said that talks and terror cannot go together and Pakistan must take demonstrable steps against terrorist groups operating from its soil and those responsible for terror attacks against India.

The change in Pakistan’s stand, many say, comes amid pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF is a Paris-based inter-governmental watchdog that monitors terrorism and criminal financing laws.

Pakistan has been calling on FATF to remove its name from the ‘grey list’ as it is crippling country’s economy. However, the FATF has said that Pakistan needs to curb terror-financing and money laundering if it wants to see its name removed from the list and save itself from being pushed into the blacklist.

The crucial FATF plenary that will decide whether Pakistan falls into the “black list” will happen later this month.

Being in FATF’s “black list” would make it impossible for Pakistan to receive foreign funding from global institutions and would thus discourage global investors to deal with the financial institutions of the country.

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