India-Pakistan talks conclude, differences remain

Posted By: Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 25 (ANI): Although India and Pakistan both said that the foreign secretary level talks is a "first step" towards the resumption of formal dialogues, certain differences could be sensed from the outcome of the discussions, which included serious issues like terrorism, Mumbai attacks, Kashmir and Balochistan.

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 dossier on Saeed (submitted by India) looked more like a piece of literature than evidence. No need to lecture what is to be done."

"Hafeez Saeed does not speak for the people of Pakistan or the government," he added.

He also said Pakistan is taking action against terrorist for its own national interest and International community hails its efforts.

Bashir added that Pakistan is not the epicenter of terrorism, but is a victim and the country has witnessed hundreds of Mumbai type terror attacks.

"India has had one 26/11, we have had a 1000 Mumbais," he added.

Making an indirect reference to India's involvement in Balochistan, Pakistan Foreign Secretary in his opening remarks had even blamed India for involvement in activities, which are prejudicial to Pakistan security.

Bashir also said that Pakistan does not want cosmetic dialogue with India.

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.

Foreign Secretary Bashir also harped on Pakistan's traditional stand on Kashmir and said that the issue of Kashmir is the core and nobody can be dismissive about it.

"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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