Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said he was willing to resume the stalled peace negotiations with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. However, just hours later, his office went back on what he said and reiterated Islamabad’s position that it would not enter into talks unless Delhi rolled back its decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy.
Formal bilateral dialogue between the two South Asian rivals has fallen apart over the past seven years over allegations of terror and the politics of Kashmir. But now, with the clarification from the prime minister’s office notwithstanding, Pakistan’s deep economic crisis and its military dealing with an unprecedented popular onslaught over decades of political meddling, the government and the military see value in reducing animosity with India.
A frozen dialogue
Since 1947, the territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir has been the main point of confrontation between the two countries. While India and Pakistan have fought several wars over seven-and-a-half decades, there have been some peacetime overtures such those by prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif in 1999.
Since the late 2010s, however, formal bilateral ties between the neighbours have seen a complete breakdown, first over the terror attacks in Uri, Pathankot and Pulwama, all of which India says were conducted by Pakistan-backed…