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Pak blames India for talks deadlock

world Updated: Oct 21, 2010 21:17 IST

Pakistan on Thursday blamed India's efforts to "underplay" the Kashmir dispute and other "unavoidable issues" for the impasse in the last round of talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in July.

The resolution of the Kashmir issue is imperative for peace and prosperity in South Asia, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing in Islamabad.

He was responding to a question on Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao's remarks that the parleys in July had run aground due to Pakistan’s "overreach".

"I think it was not Pakistan’s overreach but India's attempt to underplay Jammu and Kashmir and other important and unavoidable issues that caused an impasse in the July meeting," Basit said.

"Sixty three years have elapsed and our two countries have still not been able to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, without which we cannot realistically expect peace and prosperity in South Asia," he said.

Basit contended that the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where over 100 people have died since June, "warrants nothing less than a sustained and resulted-oriented dialogue in order to bring the long agony of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to an end".

"We call on the international community to help and use their influence with India to settle this longstanding dispute," he added.

Replying to an another question on External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's reported remarks that India and Pakistan were to sign an agreement during his visit to Islamabad in July, Basit said Indian leader was "referring to a document which our two sides were negotiating, which would have contained a roadmap for future engagement".

He claimed India was not ready to give Pakistan a definite timeline for talks on Jammu and Kashmir, peace and security and Siachen during the meeting in July.

"Obviously, it would not have been possible for us to agree to a document which did not contain a clear timeframe on these issues," he said.

Referring to the third round of the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue that began in Washington yesterday, he said four working groups on agriculture, communications and public diplomacy, water and defence met yesterday and considered ways to promote bilateral cooperation.

Meetings of the working group on energy, health, law enforcement and counterterrorism, economy and finance, and women’s empowerment are scheduled for today while the two sides will have in-depth discussions on the post-flood situation on Friday.