Islamabad, Aug 18: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks about Balochistan and Pakistani Kashmir in his Independence-Day speech "have not helped matters on the bilateral front", a Pakistan daily has said, terming the current state of relations between the two neighbours as "toxic".
"Narendra Modi's remarks, repeated during his speech on Aug 15, unnecessarily dragging Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir into the debate, have not helped matters on the bilateral front, or in addressing the unrest in held Kashmir," the Dawn said on Thursday (Aug 18).
Asking the Indian government to respond positively to Pakistan's invitation for talks on Kashmir, it said, "Indian foreign secretary should respond positively to Pakistan's invitation. Both the sides need to frankly and sincerely discuss Kashmir - and all other issues".
India on Wednesday agreed to talk to Islamabad on the "aspects" related to cross-border terrorism".
Terming the current atmosphere between the two countries as "toxic", it said the two nations instead of indulging in a blame game must resort to a mature way of handling the situation in Kashmir.
"While the Indian establishment claims Pakistan is fuelling unrest in Indian Kashmir, it is quite clear that the uprising is indigenous in nature, fuelled by New Delhi's repressive methods in the held territory," it added.
"Pakistan's call for dialogue makes eminent sense. This can be an opportunity to revive the Pakistan-India dialogue process," the editorial said.
It said India's strategy in the "held Kashmir has not borne fruit" and militarising Kashmir has only "increased the locals' resentment against New Delhi".
"Brutal state repression will only further alienate the Kashmiris, and cause disenchanted youth to pick up the gun," it said adding, "grandstanding and indulging in cross-border verbal duels" will only make matters worse.
The Kashmir valley has been on boil since the July 8 killing of militant commander Burhan Wani and the ensuing clashes between protesting mobs and security forces have left over 60 people dead.