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Former Pak envoy to US questions Islamabad’s Kashmir policy

PTI | Washington |

Questioning Pakistan's decades- old Kashmir policy, a former top envoy of the country has said even resolving the issue would unlikely address the challenge of terrorism, sectarian conflict or the Taliban abandoning its goal of establishing an "old Islamic order" in Afghanistan.

"Even if Kashmir is resolved how would that end sectarian terrorism, because sectarian terrorism is about killing people who do not have same religious sect as you have. How would resolving Kashmir stop the Taliban, who are aimed at creating their old Islamic order in Afghanistan," former Pakistani ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani told a Washington audience on Friday.

"So sometimes … making this a hyper nationalistic argument on the side of Pakistan and a very simplistic (one) that we have no choice in Pakistan's approach in America …

We want both sides to actually rethink their positions," he said.

He said this during a discussion on a report, released by nearly a dozen top American thinktanks, that urges the Trump administration for a tougher line against Pakistan, involving both pragmatic engagement and consequences for uncooperative behaviour.

'A New US Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties'- co-authored by Lis Curtis of The Heritage Foundation and Haqqani of the Hudson Institute- stops short of recommending declaring Pakistan a 'state sponsor of terrorism'.

Authored by a group of eminent US-based Pakistan experts, it calls for a sharper, clear-eyed US policy approach towards Pakistan.

"Pakistan needs to do a little introspection that can we continue this for ever and ever and still have credibility," Haqqani said about Islamabad's continued support to terrorist activities against its neighbours.

During the discussion, Haqqani was joined by Curtis and Christine Fair, a Georgetown University scholar and South Asia expert.

Fair, in her intervention, said Pakistan was "obsessed with trying to illegally occupy" other's territory.

The discussion witnessed acrimonious scenes when a group of pro-Pakistani people, including officials from the Pakistan embassy here and journalists, tried to disrupt the event.

One of the individuals was forced to leave the venue, as he repeatedly tried to disrupt the proceedings. While leaving, the individual accused Haqqani of being a "RAW agent."