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Aizaz Chaudhry invites Indian counterpart to Islamabad for dialogue on Kashmir

Aizaz invites India for dialogue

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry on Monday invited his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to Pakistan for dialogue on the Kashmir dispute, the Foreign Office (FO) said.

Aizaz called on the Indian High Commissioner to Islamabad and handed over a letter addressed to Jaishankar highlighting the international obligations of Pakistan and India with regards to resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions, said FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria.

The move comes as relations between Pakistan and India remain strained a day after ceasefire violations along the Line of Control on Aug 14, and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit’s comments dedicating Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmiris.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been running high since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked anti-government protests in India-held Kashmir, with over 70 people dead in clashes between protesters and Indian authorities.

Last week, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had announced Pakistan was ready for dialogue with India on Kashmir, in response to which India listed issues that must be addressed before any progress is possible.

Indian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that before the start of dialogue Pakistan must address “incitement to violence and terrorism across the border, parading of internationally recognised terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin, and sincere follow up on the Mumbai attack trial and the Pathankot attack investigation”.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also responded saying: “Unlike in the past we cannot agree that dialogue with sponsor and supporters of terrorism should carry on without being linked to action in that regard.” She was obliquely referring to Pakistan.

Earlier in August, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh also traded barbs at the South Asian Association for Regional Coop­eration (Saarc) Interior Minis­ters’ meeting in Islamabad.

Nisar issued a rejoinder to Rajnath when the Indian minister indirectly accused Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism, terming the use of “torture against innocent children and violence against civilians” as terrorism.

The interior minister stressed the need to “take time out to reflect and sit together to try and work out the problems and reservations that we might harbour towards each other” instead of engaging in blame games and taking swipes at each other.


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