ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said that he was saddened that the Indo-Pak security adviser level talks had been virtually cancelled and added he is 'still willing to visit New Delhi without preconditions'.
Talks between India and Pakistan, scheduled for August 23 and 24, fell into trouble as both nations reached a deadlock over Pakistan's insistence to ignore Indian ‘advice’ against holding a meeting with Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders in New Delhi on August 23.
Addressing a press conference in the federal capital city, Sartaj Aziz said that India had imposed new conditions on the security adviser level talks and added that, "We haven’t formally canceled the talks. We will see what comes out of the situation. We are still ready to hold the talks. But without any preconditions."
Talking about the 'virtual cancellation of talks from the Indian side' Aziz said, "India does not want the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Pakistan is concerned about the detention and arrests of Hurriyat leaders which is a violation of fundamental human rights."
Aziz also urged the international community to ponder over India’s attitude and decision to cancel the talks "on such flimsy grounds, especially when the main purpose of the meeting was to reduce tensions on the Line of Control and restore trust by addressing each other’s concerns regarding terrorist activities sitting across the table rather than through the media."
Responding to a question he said, "Pakistan wishes to resolve all issues with India on the negotiating table, but no serious talks with India are possible without discussion on the core issue of Kashmir."
"We had agreed to discuss all outstanding issues and Kashmir is definitely a part of it."
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security said that, "Indian claims that Pakistan was trying to distort the agenda agreed at Ufa and was imposing 'new conditions' for the talks could not be farther from the truth."
Aziz said that the three-point agenda proposed by Pakistan was fully in line with the Ufa statement.
Giving details of Pakistan's proposals he said, "The first point called for discussion on all issues related to terrorism."
"The second point calls for reviewing progress on actual decisions made at Ufa which included prompt release of fishermen, better arrangements for religious tourism, and activation of mechanisms for restoring peace across the LoC and the Working Boundary," he added.
"The third point was intended to explore the modalities for discussions on all other outstanding issues including Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen," Aziz said.
The most important sentence of the Ufa agreement according to Aziz was, “India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues”.
He said that India seems reluctant to recognise that the most important outstanding issue between the two countries is the future of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions.
Sartaj Aziz said that India had introduced a new condition, which was never mentioned in the Ufa agreement, "through its 'advice' that Pakistan should not meet Hurriyat leaders, thus assuming the right to determine the guest list for the High Commissioner’s reception."
Aziz dispelled ‘India’s wishful narrative’ according to which ‘only Pakistan’s military establishment is pushing the agenda towards the Kashmir issue’ saying that the Indian foreign policy establishment has failed to realise that the entire Pakistani nation stands united and fully committed to provide political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris struggling for their right of self-determination.
He claimed that India has been conducting a part of its diplomacy through its media which had been saying that Pakistan was looking for an exit due to apprehensions over the dossier which India's ex-spymaster and incumbent national security adviser Ajit Doval has prepared for presentation during the talks.
Aziz countered the Indian media's claim by saying, "In fact I will also be carrying three dossiers on RAW’s involvement in promoting terrorism in Pakistan. If I do not get this opportunity on 24 August, I hope I will get a chance to hand them over to Mr Doval in New York next month, if he accompanies Prime Minister Modi for the UN General Assembly."
He added that, "After handing over these dossiers to Mr. Doval, I can then also share them with the UN Secretary General."
Sartaj Aziz concluded his speech urging Indian Premier Modi to ponder over the most important part of the Ufa Statement (that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues) and think of ways and means of initiating serious dialogue on these outstanding issues.
India will talk on all outstanding issues when terror and violence end: Swaraj
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj admitted that though the 'resolution of all outstanding issues' was preamble to the Ufa agreement, India had made it clear on August 18 that the scheduled meeting between national security advisers will only discuss issues related to terrorism.
"No other topic will come under discussion," she said.
The Indian foreign minister said that outstanding issues including Kashmir are part of the composite dialogue between the two countries but the composite dialogue has not yet resumed.
Referring to the invitation, extended to Hurriyat leaders from India-held Kashmir for a reception hosted by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Swaraj said India has always maintained that there will be no third-party in Indo-Pak talks. "Hurriyat cannot be a party," she added.
The Indian foreign minister said that the incumbent ruling government had come under immense internal pressure after repeated attacks and exchanges of fire between Indo-Pak troops along the Line of Control and Working Boundary but the government had still decided to go ahead with the talks.
"Terror and talks not possible but talks on terror desirable," she added.
Swaraj said that Sartaj Aziz was more than welcome to visit New Delhi as long as no other issue apart from terrorism is discussed and no third party is included in the talks between the two countries.