Pakistan on Friday informed India that proposed talks between the foreign secretaries of the two sides should be centred on finding a solution to the Kashmir issue, skirting New Delhi’s contention that the discussions should focus on terrorism.
In a response to Indian foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s letter that called for discussions on the “more pressing aspects” of the Kashmir situation, including the stopping of cross-border terror, his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry said the talks should be aimed at “finding a fair and just solution” of the Kashmir issue.
Chaudhry called in Indian high commissioner Gautam Bambawale to hand over his reply to of August 16, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement late on Friday. Pakistan had first mooted the talks in a letter sent on August 15.
Both sides have shown no signs of backing down on the main issues they want to be addressed during talks. Pakistan has reverted to describing Kashmir as the “core issue” for any discussions while New Delhi has insisted Islamabad must address its concerns about terrorism, including action against those involved in the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.
According to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Chaudhry’s reply invited his Indian counterpart to “visit Islamabad by the end of this month” to discuss a solution to the Kashmir issue in line with UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Pakistan also called for an “immediate end to human rights violations” in Kashmir and for “providing medical facilities to the injured”, including permission for doctors and paramedics to travel to the Indian state.
India has accused Pakistan of inciting violence in Jammu and Kashmir, where more than 60 people have died in protests that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. It has also called for “the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan’s illegal occupation” of parts of Kashmir.