India-Pakistan talks conclude, differences surface

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New Delhi, Feb 25 (ANI): India and Pakistan on Thursday took a "first step" towards strengthening their relationships after a meeting between the foreign secretaries of both countries, but certain differences could be sensed from the outcome of the discussions, which included terrorism, the 2008 Mumbai attacks and Kashmir.

After the discussions, Pakistan Foreign Secretary described his meeting with his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao, as a useful meeting and said it could be a good platform to restart broader bilateral discussions, but added that the two sides should not link individuals or incidents of terror to the talks.

"Linking terror to talks is unfair, unrealistic and counter-productive to make one more incident (Mumbai) the focus and stall the talks based on that," Bashir said.

"It is unfair to link talks to individuals, incidents of terror. Linking 26/11 to talks, will be a huge error of judgement. We are not desperate it is for India to decide whether they would like to continue with dialogues or not," added Bashir.

Further defending 26/11 Mumbai attacks' mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, Bashir said: " The docket on Saeed (submitted by India) is a piece of literature, not evidence. No need to lecture what is to be done."

He also informed that the assets of JuD have been frozen, and Saeed was released from the court through a legal process.

However, he did stress that Pakistan is willing to negotiate with India on all issues including intelligence sharing.

He also said the issue of Kashmir was discussed between the two sides extensively, and not briefly as mentioned in some media reports.

"Kashmir can be addressed in a more meaningful manner through the composite dialogue process. We did voice our concerns over the human rights violation in Kashmir. The focus of our talks (with the Indian side) was Kashmir," Bashir said, adding that for Pakistan, Kashmir is still and will remain a core issue.

Bashir emphasized that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is keen for peace in the region, and has a vision for a peaceful and prosperous South Asia. (ANI)

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