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August 23, 2019

No back channel talks with India: FO

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August 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says there are no ongoing back channel talks with India but Islamabad is in touch with New Delhi over it not adhering to the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) where recently it did not share flood data with Pakistan and also refused to renew the agreement.

“The Pakistan Commissioner to Indus Waters has conveyed that there was an agreement between Pakistan and India for sharing of flood data, which was signed in 1989. According to this agreement, India is supposed to share data from July 01 till October 10, every year, of flood waters,” spokesman at the Foreign Office stated during the weekly media briefing.

“This agreement was renewed annually but this year India has refused to do so and henceforth flood data was not conveyed to Pakistan. However, they have shared some data under Article IV(8) of the IWT, which is related to extraordinary discharges and is distinct from the 1989 agreement,” he said.

Despite the recent low in bilateral relations, Pakistan says that there is no change in its policy in completing the Kartarpur Corridor. “We are hopeful that the meetings (with India) take place soon so that agreement on Kartarpur Corridor may be finalised, at the earliest. We are planning to open the Kartarpur Corridor as per schedule,” the spokesman responded to a query.

As the curfew in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) continues and there is a complete lockdown with reports of repression against those who step out of their homes, Pakistan says that it continues to monitor the situation. “I would reiterate that active consultations among all stakeholders (in Pakistan) are underway and we will update you soon regarding the decisions taken. I would categorically state that there is no conflict between any stakeholders,” he responded.

Regarding the incidents that are being reported daily from IHK, the spokesman said that they were highly condemnable and are being reported in the international media.

“India cannot besiege the Kashmiris and impose anindefinite curfew in the Indian occupied valley. This dispute needs to be resolved as per the UN Security Council Resolutions and India must immediately stop its grave violations of human rights. Many countries have offered mediation between Pakistan and India, but there can be no move forward unless India agrees to accept these offers,” he said.

The spokesman also pointed towards the Kashmiri diaspora all across Europe which has been condemning and protesting against the unilateral and illegal actions of India in IHK. “These protests will continue, as there are families of Kashmiris who have settled all across the globe and they have outright rejected Indian actions,” he added.

Regarding recent statements from President Trump, the spokesman said that Prime Minister Imran Khan held two telephone conversations with Trump on August 16 and August 19. “These telephonic conversations with President Trump were aimed at apprising the US leadership of the current situation in IHK following India’s unilateral and illegal actions. President Trump’s consistent engagement is a manifestation of his interest in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” said the spokesman.

As trains and buses between Pakistan and India have ceased to operate, the spokesman said no Pakistanis nor Indians are stranded in each other’s country. “Wagah Border is open and to the best of my knowledge people are crossing over from both sides,” he said.

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