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August 31, 2013

Indian viewpoint on Kashmir contradictory, says Sartaj

World

AFP
August 31, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the National Assembly on Friday that Pakistan sincerely wanted the resolution of the Kashmir issue with India but there were contradictions in the latter’s point of view on the issue.
Giving a policy statement and responding to a calling-attention notice in the House, Sartaj said the dialogue process of 1999 and 2004 was hampered due to the military takeover of 1999 in Pakistan and the Mumbai incident of 2008, but the two countries again started the back channel diplomacy for Composite Dialogue and both the premiers also contacted each other twice on phone.
He said tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) affected this process, as India had been changing its stance on the LoC incident and did not accept Pakistan’s offer of a joint investigation as well as through the UNMOGIP.
He said Pakistan had also offered to strengthen the DGMOs contact and abide by the ceasefire accord of 2003, but there were contradictions in the Indian viewpoint as well as a lack of unanimity.
He said India had repeatedly claimed that Kashmir was a bilateral issue though there were numerous UN resolutions on Kashmir to settle the issue according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. He said even if Pakistan tried to resolve the problem, there was no encouraging response from India.
“This is also the responsibility of the international community to pay heed to these problems and they need to understand the ground realities between the two nuclear powers,” he said.The adviser told the House that Pakistan would take up the drone strikes with the UN General Assembly next month and the Obama administration. “Pakistan will take up this issue of drone attacks on the country’s soil in the UN General Assembly session next month and in meetings with the US government officials,” Sartaj said.
The calling attention notice was raised by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Dr Shireen Mazari and others about

declaration of all mosques as terrorist organisations by the New York police, an expected US attack on Syria and the Russian prime minister’s threat to invade Saudi Arabia.
Sartaj said Pakistan had a very clear stance on drone strikes and such attacks should come to an end.“Drone strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and are also in contravention of the international law and the UN charter,” Sartaj said.
He said during his visit to the US next month, the prime minister would raise this issue again with the Obama administration and also seek the support of other countries.The adviser recalled that during his recent visit, the UN secretary general had also endorsed Pakistan’s stance on drone attacks, while Pakistan also enjoyed the support of many European countries in this regard.
Sartaj Aziz said declaration of all mosques as terrorist organisations by the New York police and mayor was just a rumour adding that the US authorities had also contradicted such reports.
About relations with the US, the adviser said both the countries had agreed to resume the strategic dialogue early next year, expressing the confidence that the relations, which saw ups and downs in the past, would flourish in the years to come.
“Our priority is to enhance trade and economic relations with the US, as we are pursuing a policy of trade and not aid. Our government successfully made US Secretary of State John Kerry believe that the Pakistan-US relations could not be viewed from the Afghan angle.” He said both the countries had formed six working groups to complete the task for better relations.
“We expect strategic dialogue next year and a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US president in New York next month. Our priority of relations with the United States is trade and not aid.”
Regarding Russian prime minister’s threat of attack to Saudi Arabia, he said it was mere threat to refrain the US from attacking Syria.
Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan wanted the resolution of this problem through peaceful means saying that the UN inspectors were currently in Syria and the world powers should wait for their report. He said as the US was preparing for aerial strikes on Syria, Pakistan believes it will make the situation more concerning.”
On the issue of using chemical weapons by the Syrian establishment, he said Pakistan does not support use of chemical weapons but feels the report of the UN Mission already present in the country should be waited.
Sartaj said Pakistan’s stand on Syria was based on the principles of international law and the UN Charter to respect the territorial integrity of Syria.
On the Afghan issue, he said peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for peace in Pakistan. He said the recent visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad remained successful and helped normalise relations.
“Pakistan does not believe in interference in the internal matters of Afghanistan and there is no favourite group of Pakistan there,” he said.Sartaj said Pakistan had supported the Qatar process and hoped that the dialogue process will continue for peace and stability. “The regional countries will have to refrain from interference in Afghanistan for this purpose,” he maintained.