Talks with Kashmir leaders first, then India: Sharif

  • Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Islamabad
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2014 01:37 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Thursday said his government would talk to separatist leaders in Kashmir before entering any dialogue with India.

The remarks were made during his speech to a Kashmir council in Muzaffarabad, PoK — days ahead of the Saarc summit in Nepal, where he is bound to run into Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with India but it cancelled scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries… Before starting dialogue with India, I have decided to consult Kashmiri leaders,” he said.

India had cancelled secretary-level talks in August to protest the Pakistan high commissioner’s meeting with Hurriyat leaders.

Sharif said it was India that was delaying talks. He also accused India of “violating the ceasefire” and shunned repeated accusations from Delhi of Pakistan harbouring militants on its soil. “India spins propaganda against us… to cover up its wrongdoings in Kashmir.”

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