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Want to resolve LoC tension through talks: Pak

January 24, 2013 18:34 IST

Amidst strain in bilateral ties arising out of ceasefire violations, Pakistan on Thursday said it wants to resolve all issues with India, including tensions along the Line of Control, through talks, as dialogue is the best way to address such matters.

Islamabad wants to sort out all issues with New Delhi, particularly ceasefire violations along the LoC, Foreign Office spokesman Moazzam Khan told a weekly news briefing.

The remarks came in the backdrop of two India-Pakistan engagements been put off this month.

There are concerns on both sides but the best way is to resolve issues through dialogue, Khan said in response to a question about tensions on the LoC.

"There is an established mechanism and Pakistan has been urging India to resolve the issue through that mechanism," Khan said.

He reiterated that Pakistan desires to resolve all issues with India through talks and in a constructive manner as dialogue is the best way to address such matters.

Tensions between India and Pakistan increased following a string of clashes between troops along the 742-km LoC earlier this month. Two India soldiers were killed in the worst violations of the ceasefire that was put in place in late 2003. Pakistan has claimed that three of its soldiers were also killed.

The scheduled January-end Indo-Pak secretary-level meeting on waters, including differences over the Tulbul navigation project in Jammu and Kashmir, had been cancelled ove what officials in New Delhi said was "scheduling issues".

Earlier, Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim called off a scheduled visit to India to attend a business meet later this month in Agra.

Asked about statements by Indian ministers on terrorism by Hindu groups, Khan said Pakistan is concerned about such matters and hoped that the Indian leaders would do what a responsible government should do in such a situation. He reiterated Pakistan's demand for a thorough investigation into the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express cross-border train.

The findings of the investigation should be shared with Pakistan and the culprits punished in accordance with law, he said.

Nearly 70 people, a majority of them Pakistanis, were killed in the terror attack on the train.

Asked to comment on an advertisement that recently appeared in a newspaper in Jammu and Kashmir asking people to take precautions against a possible nuclear attack, Khan said this was "ridiculous".

In response to another question, Khan said Pakistan is committed to normalising trade with India. He said the cabinet had already instructed authorities to take necessary steps to implement this commitment.

The spokesman confirmed that a United Nations Special Rapporteur is conducting an inquiry into human rights violations in US drone strikes.

This exercise is part of a broader mandate given to the Rapporteur by the UN Human Rights Council to examine rights abuses in the war against terrorism.

Pakistan and other like-minded countries had called for examining extra-judicial and targeted killings, including drone strikes that resulted in deaths of civilians and non-combatants.

Pakistan regards drone strikes as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, he reiterated. The strikes by the unmanned planes have no legality and are counter-productive, he said.

This issue has been a constant source of concern for Pakistan and this has been communicated to the US administration at every level, he added.

Khan announced that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari would visit Britain in the first week of February to attend a trilateral summit with Prime Minister David Cameron and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to discuss the endgame in Afghanistan.

Replying to a question, he said Pakistan has initiated the process of releasing all Afghan Taliban detainees to help facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. He, however, said he could not give names or numbers of detainees who would be freed.

Pakistan has so far freed 26 Afghan Taliban prisoners, including several former ministers of the erstwhile Taliba regime in Kabul, as part of its efforts to play a leading role in the endgame in Afghanistan.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad