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Pak slams India's 'illegal and amoral' stance on Kashmir

By Rezaul H Laskar
September 30, 2010 18:39 IST

Pakistan on Thursday accused India of adopting an 'untenable, illegal and amoral' position on the issue of Kashmir and said New Delhi should come forward for meaningful and result-oriented talks aimed at resolving the decades-old issue.

Responding to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's comments at the United Nations General Assembly about the need for Pakistan to focus on internal concerns like terrorism instead of imparting lessons on democracy and human rights to India, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said India should take steps to resolve the Kashmir issue. Basit told a weekly news briefing that Pakistan found Krishna's suggestions 'strange, to put it mildly'.

"We are surprised that India, instead of resolving the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiris, is not ready to dispense with its untenable, illegal and amoral position on Kashmir," he said.

"No doubt Pakistan is facing domestic difficulties and so is India. But that does not mean that we become indifferent and not raise our voice against grisly operations and grave violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir," he added.

In the past few weeks, Pakistan has stepped up its criticism of India's handling of protests in Jammu and Kashmir. The Foreign Office has said New Delhi should review its policy of describing Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India and give up efforts to find a solution to the Kashmir issue within the Indian Constitution. Basit noted that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said that Pakistan wants to engage with India in a sustained, result-oriented and meaningful dialogue process.

"Pakistan is ready to proceed with this dialogue but obviously we are not interested in photo ops. What we are interested in is that our two countries get together, discuss the issues involved, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, and work together for lasting peace and stability in South Asia," he said.

Asked about the possibility of Western powers mediating between India and Pakistan, Basit replied, "We are not averse to third party mediation but we are aware of India's position on this. Hence, our efforts will continue with a view to finding viable solutions to problems or issues which our two countries face bilaterally."

Pakistan had engaged with India through the composite dialogue process and has not attached any pre-conditions for dialogue, he said.

"What we are saying is that all issues which are outstanding between our two countries need to be discussed and need to be resolved. This is the position which should be appreciated because if you are engaged in a process that goes nowhere, then we would not like to associate ourselves with that process," Basit said.

Pakistan hopes that India will be ready to discuss all issues, particularly Jammu and Kashmir, because it is the "root cause of problems between our two countries."

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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