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'India must include Kashmir in talks'

world Updated: Jul 25, 2010 15:06 IST

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India must include the Kashmir issue in talks with Pakistan in order to take forward parleys between the two countries, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

"It will be impossible for Pakistan to continue the dialogue if India does not pay importance to the Kashmir issue," Qureshi told reporters at the airport in Lahore on Saturday after returning from a trip abroad.

His remarks came more than a week after his July 15 meeting with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna in Islamabad during which sharp differences arose between the two sides on the timeframe and roadmap for future talks.

On the proposed Pakistan-Afghanistan transit trade agreement, he described it as a significant achievement, but ruled out any provision in the pact to allow India to send its goods to Afghanistan via Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister also dismissed assertions by US leaders and officials that the top al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leadership, including Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, are present in Pakistan.

Describing such reports as rubbish, he said: "Pakistan wants concrete evidence proving the whereabouts of either Osama or Mullah Omar."

He said that if anyone claims bin Laden or Mullah Omar are hiding in Pakistan, they must provide evidence to the government of Pakistan to back up their contention.