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Singh, Sharif talks could revive composite dialogue: Pak

September 18, 2013 00:58 IST

Pakistan on Tuesday said a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh would be useful to revive composite dialogue and fast track bilateral issues but made it clear that it is not expecting any major breakthrough.

Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs, said prior to the August 6 incident, there were high expectations from the meeting between the two prime ministers in New York.

The bilateral peace process was derailed by the August 6 incident, in which five Indian soldiers were ambushed and killed while on patrol on the LoC.

Speaking to reporters informally here on the sidelines of an event, he said the Indian reluctance to talk after the incident has lowered hopes. He stressed the talks should focus on a reduction in the tension on the LoC and a commitment to observe the ceasefire of 2003.

"It could take forward the technical discussion of the composite dialogue by the seven working groups which can continue till the new government in India takes over next year," he said.

Pakistan has been pushing for a meeting between Singh and Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. However, India has been non-committal on the meeting.

On the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, he said brushing it under the carpet was not an option.

He stressed that Kashmir was very much an issue and it was there on the UN agenda as well and the wishes of the Kashmiri people were important.

This and other issues can also be discussed in back channel talks without the glare of TV cameras and it should bring up different options for a solution, he said.

Replying to a query, he said Kashmir was central to Indo-Pak talks and the back channel negotiations can discuss all options including the four-point formula for Kashmir.

The formula was put forward by former President Gen Pervez Musharraf that involved self governance, demilitarisation, free movement of people and trade between India and Pakistan.

On the August 6 incident, he stressed that Pakistani troops were not involved.

This would not be the first time people wearing army uniforms have committed terrorist acts - the jail break at Dera Ismail Khan and the Gilgit killings were perpetrated by men in army uniforms, he said.

Every time some non state actors disturb the situation there are ceasefire violations.

Regarding the issue of terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, he said the demand to hand him to over to India has no serious legal basis and the Pakistan judicial commission was investigating the matter.

Asked about MFN status, he said while it was okayed in principle, the trade committee as part of the composite dialogue has to meet and address the issues like non tariff barriers, among other things. 

Snehesh Alex Philip in Islamabad
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