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‘Most important outstanding issue between India, Pak is Kashmir’: Aziz

sartaj-aziz

Islamabad, Aug 22 : Ahead of the NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan that hang by a thread, the latter’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz on Saturday asserted that the most important outstanding issue between the two countries was the future of Kashmir.

“Everyone knows that the most important outstanding issue between the two countries is the future of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations resolutions,” Aziz said at a press conference here this afternoon.

Aziz also accused India of neglecting an important sentence in the Ufa agreement that the Pakistani and the Indian prime ministers had reached last month in Ufa, Russia.

“India seems reluctant to recognize the significance of the most important sentence in the Ufa statement, I quote ‘India and Pakistan have collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development, to do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues’,” Aziz said.

Laying greater emphasis on the Kashmir issue, Pakistan’s NSA said, “the word K is very much present in this sentence”.

He also said that it was India that had introduced new conditions in the agenda and format of the forthcoming NSA talks “with its advice that Pakistan could not meet Hurriyat leaders”.

“The statement of the official spokesman of Indian External Affairs Ministry that, Pakistan has imposed new conditions, totally ignores the last sentence of the note handed over to the Indian High Commission on 21st August that Pakistan is ready to hold NSA talks without any pre-conditions,” he said.

Calling the statement of the official spokesman of the Indian external affairs ministry ‘hilarious’, Aziz said that India wants everyone to believe that only Pakistani military establishment is pushing the agenda towards the Kashmir issue.

“The most hilarious part of the statement of the official spokesman of the Indian External Affairs Ministry is the sentence ‘the people of both countries can legitimately ask today, what is the force that compels Pakistan to disregard the agreements reached by the two elected leaders and sabotage their implementation’.”

The Pakistan NSA said that if India would be presenting documentary evidence of alleged terrorism from Pakistani soil to Islamabad, Pakistan would also not be backing down and would be carrying at least three dossiers on the involvement of the Research and Analysis (the external intelligence agency of India) in Pakistan, most notably in Balochistan, and other evidence.

“We will carry dossiers carrying information of RAW’s involvement in Pakistan,” said Aziz.

“I urge Mr. Modi (Indian Prime Minister) to ponder over what I call the most important part of the Ufa statement that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace in South Asia,” he added.

“On my part, I’m still prepared to go to New Delhi for the NSA talks, but without any preconditions,” Aziz said.

“As far as we are concerned, we are still ready to hold the talks. We have not formally cancelled the talks. The Indian External Affairs Minister (Sushma Swaraj) is holding a press conference this afternoon. We will see what comes out of it,” Aziz said.

Sushma Swaraj will address a press conference in New Delhi at 4 p.m. today, said an Indian Ministry of External Affairs statement.

Though no details were immediately available on what would be the agenda taken up at the press conference by the minister, media circles here believe that it could focus on the Indian Government’s position on the forthcoming NSA talks.

The two press conferences are taking place a day after India and Pakistan sparred through verbal and written statements over Islamabad’s determination and intention to meet with separatist leaders from Kashmir ahead of the proposed August 23 and 24 NSA talks. (ANI)