Pak-India discuss ‘all aspects’ of Kashmir issue
Refusing to divulge any details of the deliberations, the official spokesperson in Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akabaruddin only said the Foreign Secretaries, along with their respective delegations, have had “two full sessions of detailed discussions covering all aspects of the agenda under the items Peace and Security as well as Jammu and Kashmir.”
At the end of the two sessions Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani have agreed to resume the talks today (Thursday) with a view to completing all the items scheduled for consideration, he added.
According to official sources, India flagged its concern over anti-India terror activities being planned from Pakistani soil in the backdrop of arrest of LeT terrorist Abu Jundal who has revealed that he, along with LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, was in the control room in Karachi during 26/11 Mumbai carnage in which 166 people were killed.
The Indian side also raised the issue of Jundal being issued Pakistani passport and Pakistan’s domestic identity cards under the name of Riyasat Ali, to the visiting delegation, sources said.
The Foreign Secretaries were assisted by senior officials of both sides, including the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal and Pakistan’s High Commissioner-designate to India Salman Bashir.
India is also understood to have reiterated its concern over the slow pace of Mumbai terror attacks trial in Pakistan.
The two sides also talked about confidence-building measures, including in trade and travel and nuclear fields. Tuesday talks will be followed by a joint media interaction.
The latest talks focus on peace and security, including the threat posed by terrorism, the decades-old dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir and confidence-building measures to push closer ties, an Indian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Jilani told reporters that he had been “mandated by the Pakistani leadership to move the peace process forward.”
Subsequently, the visiting Pakistani Foreign Secretary will call upon the External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at his office in South Block.
A joint statement will be issued at the culmination of the engagements.
The two countries have already had four segments including terrorism, trade and water in the past few months with two more -on Siachen and Sir Creek- slated for this month as part of the second round of talks.
Meanwhile, the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan has been postponed since the dates were clashing with the Presidential poll here.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna was expected to travel to Islamabad on July 18-19 to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar after the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries met in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani has assured the Hurriyet leadership that Pakistan will take up the Jammu and Kashmir issue with India with full strength.
The assurance was held out to the Hurriyet leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who called on him at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
The Kashmiri leaders stressed that Kashmir should be the core issue in the talks process between Pakistan and India.
The veteran leader, Syed Ali Geelani during his meeting with Jalil Abbas Jilani, said, “Relations between India and Pakistan cannot be strong enough till the Kashmir issue is resolved.”
Geelani in a media interview in New Delhi said he reminded Pakistan Foreign Secretary that it was incumbent upon Pakistan to push for the Kashmir settlement on priority.
“It’s moral, diplomatic and democratic responsibility of Pakistan to pressure India to resolve the six-decade old Kashmir dispute in its historical background,” he said.
“I told the Pakistan Foreign Secretary that the bilateral talks are a futile exercise and there has been no forward movement on any issue earlier.”
He also prevailed upon the Foreign Secretary to press for involvement of Kashmiri leadership in the talks. “There can be no forward movement unless Kashmiris were made part of the talks who are the main stakeholders in the dispute,” a spokesman quoted Syed Ali Geelani having said.
According to the spokesman, the veteran leader raised the issue of human rights abuses, use of Public safety Act against youth, his round-the-clock detention at his Srinagar residence and India’s attempt to change demography of Kashmir during meeting with Jilani.
Umar Farooq led an eight-member APHC delegation, which among others included Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Bilal Ghani Lone and Agha Sayed Hassan Al-Moosvi in the meeting. The two sides expressed similar views on the need to involve the Kashmiris in the dialogue process.
Later, APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq talking to a Srinagar-based daily said that he apprised Jilani about the prevailing situation in Kashmir.
“I told him that it is unfortunate that no headway is being made vis-à-vis Kashmir. Nothing has moved despite several rounds of Indo-Pak talks. Talks seem not serving any purpose. We stressed the need to push for final resolution to the dispute during our interaction,” he said.
He said he told visiting Pakistani delegation that Kashmiri leadership was neither against Indo-Pak parleys nor CBMs. “Our sole concern is that Kashmir issue should be resolved according to wishes and aspirations of people of Kashmir.
“We told him, it is ok to go ahead stepwise but there is no visible forward movement and the process is going on round and round in a circle”, the Mirwaiz said.
Emerging from the meeting, the APHC Chairman said that the Hurriyet felt that solution to all problems could be found through dialogue.
He reminded the Foreign Secretary that Kashmir was not a territorial dispute. Describing Kashmir as the core issue between the two countries, he stressed that only a process-based endeavour and not an event-based effort such as the present would deliver a solution.
Mr Jilani, according to Mirwaiz, said the Pakistan government is sensitive to all issues pertaining to Kashmir. He also pledged to continue the diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmir cause.
He said the Foreign Secretary has also invited the Hurriyet leadership to visit Pakistan in September or October.
Mirwaiz said Jilani assured them that Kashmir would be main issue during country’s talks with India.
He said they apprised the Foreign Secretary about India’s insincerity towards settlement of the Kashmir issue. “We informed Pakistan that India has not considered their proposals which included demilitarisation.”
Meanwhile, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik during his interaction with the Foreign Secretary said Kashmir’s transition towards peaceful struggle should be acknowledged by the two countries and they should push for its settlement as soon as possible.
India and Pakistan cannot afford to freeze the Kashmir issue. If they don’t resolve the problem, it will have far reaching consequences and younger generation can once again explore the option of taking up the arms,” he said..—Agencies