Kashmiris key stakeholder in Pakistan-India talks, says FO
The ministry, in response to Indian foreign office’s statement that negated the role of Hurriyat leadership in Pakistan-India dialogue, declared that Pakistan wants the Kashmir issue resolved through an impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices.
The resolutions of United Nations ask Pakistan and India to settle the issue according to the wishes of Kashmiris, the statement said.
The foreign office insisted,“The Kashmiris are important stakeholders as they are the ones required to exercise their right to self-determination”.
The spokesperson reaffirmed that the dialogue between Pakistan and India was important for peace, economic development and welfare of the people of South Asian region.
India ruled out a role for the Hurriyat in resolving the Kashmir issue, saying there would be “no place for a third party” in settling outstanding matters between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The external affairs ministry’s stance was conveyed in a terse reaction to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s remarks that India had no objection to leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference being invited to events marking Pakistan’s National Day.
“Let me reiterate there are only two parties and there is no place for a third party in resolution of India-Pakistan issues,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
“The only way forward to proceed on all outstanding issues is a peaceful bilateral dialogue within the framework of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration,” he said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Basit said on the margins of an event at the high commission to mark Pakistan’s National Day that India had no objections to interactions between him and Hurriyat leaders.
“I don’t think the Indian government is objecting to our meeting with Hurriyat leaders. I would rather suggest to my media friends not to make an issue out of a non-issue,” Basit told reporters.
The envoy expressed the hope that talks between the two countries would continue “more seriously and more sincerely”. Pakistan had been “serious and sincere about resolving issues with India through peaceful dialogue” since they cannot be settled “by use of force”, he added.
But Akbaruddin said in response to Basit’s remarks that the “Government of India prefers to speak for itself”.
“Having repeated it on so many occasions there should be no scope for misunderstanding or misrepresenting India’s position on the role of the so called Hurriyat,” Akbaruddin added.
India called off talks between the foreign secretaries in August last year after Basit held talks with Hurriyat leaders despite being asked not to do so by the external affairs ministry. Bilateral ties went into a tailspin following tensions along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ice was broken when Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif last month to wish the Pakistani team for the cricket World Cup and announced he would send Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to Islamabad as part of a SAARC Yatra.
Jaishankar met his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in Islamabad earlier this month and the two sides agreed to find common ground and narrow differences. This had given rise to hopes about the possible resumption of bilateral dialogue.
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