‘Kashmir issue should not be pre-condition for Indo-Pak talks’

Islamabad: Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a pre-condition for holding talks between India and Pakistan, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday as he asked the two nations not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process.

He also asked Pakistan to speed up the investigation into the January 2 Pathankot attack which India has blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group.

“Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a precondition for starting the dialogue process,” Hammond, who is here on a day-long visit, said during a joint press conference with Pakistan Premier’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz.

“I urge both Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process,” he said.

“I welcome Pakistan’s commitment to vigorously pursue Pathankot attack investigations and we hope that the country will make progress in the investigation,” he said.

Aziz said that a joint investigation team is in process to complete its probe into the Pathankot attack.

“The probe team will visit India in the next few days,” he said.

Aziz also said that there is no pre-condition for the meeting of the foreign secretaries of the two nations.

However, he said that their meeting could take place after the visit of Pakistani probe team to India.

Aziz said that Pakistan also shared intelligence with India about possible terror attacks.

“Sharing of intelligence among various nations of the world is a routine practice and this happens around the world. However, this time it was somehow leaked to media. But this showed Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism,” he said.

The British Foreign Secretary also appreciated the role of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.