ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Advisor to PM on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Monday said no dialogue with India will take place without Kashmir on the agenda. “Pakistan’s stance on the core issue of Kashmir is clear. We will continue extending moral, political and diplomatic support to
our Kashmiri brethren,” the Advisor said in his briefing to media here at the Foreign Office.
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The briefing was the follow-up of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Ufa, Russia from July 9-10 where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit and met leaders of other countries including China, India, Russia and Afghanistan.
On Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, he said after a gap of 13 months, it was a “good beginning”.
In response to criticism on Pakistan side for not including Kashmir in the Joint Statement, he said the meeting was not the formal start of any dialogue process.
Rather, it served an important purpose to achieve an understanding to engage in a structured dialogue on all issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
He mentioned that the Joint Statement issued clearly recognizes that “India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues”. He said of all outstanding issues, Kashmir topped the
list besides other important issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, interference and water dispute.
He said Kashmiris’ right to self-determination has not been granted despite suffering of their three generations and added that Pakistan stand by Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle.
He mentioned that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had affirmed this principled position in clear and unequivocal terms during his speech at UN General Assembly session. The Advisor dismissed the impression that Pakistan exhibited any apologetic approach towards India at Ufa and said the meeting, which was held at the request of Indian side, was cordial with a frank discussion held on each
He said the two sides also agreed to revive Track-II dialogue to explore ways of resolving issues that were lingering for a long and needed to be resolved in order to give peace a chance. Modalities of this track would be worked out through diplomatic channels, he added.
Sartaj Aziz said to address Pakistan’s concern on Indian interference in Pakistan including continuing support for insurgency in Balochistan and India’s accusations of cross-border terrorism, the two sides agreed for their National Security Advisors to meet first in New Delhi and then in Islamabad.