Pakistan on Monday reacted sharply to Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks that it should decide whether to talk to India or to separatist Kashmiri leaders, saying it does not accept “any conditionality” in the dialogue process.
“As we have been stating the dialogue between Pakistan and India is not a favour that one country does to the other.
Dialogue between Pakistan and India is a necessity for peace in this region so that South Asia also focuses on economic development and welfare of the people,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said.
“We do not accept any conditionality. Kashmiris are not Indian separatists they are people in occupied territory struggling for their right to self-determination that has been recognised by the United Nations resolutions. Pakistan is a party to the dispute. So this contention is not acceptable,” she said.
Asking Pakistan to make a “conscious” choice, Jaitley had said it should draw a red line whether it wants to talk to government of India or those who want to break India.
“We create the environment, we fix up a dialogue at the level of Foreign Secretaries and our Foreign Secretary is to visit Pakistan (and) literally a few hours before that they invite the separatists for a dialogue to their High Commission in New Delhi.
“So I think a new red line has to be drawn in Pakistan to reconsider this question that who they want to speaks to, do they want to speak to the Government of India or they want to speak to those who want to break India,” he had said.
Asked about India’s request for a land route for exporting wheat to Afghanistan, Aslam said Pakistan does not want to create hurdles in trade between India and Afghanistan through its territory.
“As you know that Afghanistan is a land locked country and we have provided Afghanistan access. We do not stop trade. Karachi port is available to India,” she said.
Asked about Indian leadership’s condemnation of the Wagah border attack, she said, “We have seen a statement attributed to the Indian Prime Minister, condemning the terrorist attack.”
“Our authorities are investigating this incident and are in a better position to decide whether we need outside assistance or not,” she said apparently referring to the US’ offer of assistance in the probe.