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Dialogue with India only if Kashmir on agenda: Sartaj Aziz

world Updated: Nov 25, 2016 18:25 IST

File photo of Pakistan's foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers’ meeting in Mecca on November 17, 2016.(AFP)

Days before he travels to India to participate in the Heart of Asia conference, foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz said on Friday that Pakistan will hold a dialogue with India only if the Kashmir issue is on the agenda.

Addressing the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament on the situation along the Line of Control following a spike in hostilities, Aziz said Pakistan will continue its “moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris for their right to self-determination”.

“Pakistan would hold dialogue with India on all issues but only with the inclusion of the Kashmir issue on the agenda,” he was quoted as saying by state-run APP news agency.

“Our policy on Kashmir is very clear. We will continue our support to the right of self-determination of Kashmiris…at all forums, including bilateral and international.”

Pakistan has confirmed that Aziz will attend the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan to be held in Amritsar during December 3-4. A bilateral meeting between Aziz and an Indian official on the margins of the meeting is yet to be confirmed.

India-Pakistan tensions spiked this week when Indian troops mounted a massive bombardment of Pakistani positions along the LoC after three Indian soldiers were killed, and the body of one mutilated, on Tuesday. Pakistani authorities said 14 people, including three soldiers, died in the shelling.

Aziz said the “motive behind India’s aggression at the LoC was to divert the international community’s attention from atrocities and blatant human rights violations” in Kashmir. He accused Indian troops of attacking a bus and an ambulance along the LoC.

Pakistan took this issue seriously and wrote a letter to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to inform them of the “motives behind Indian aggression” at the LoC, he added.

Defence minister Khawaja Asif also addressed the House and said that “if India imposes war on Pakistan, Pakistan will fight valiantly”.