Despite India telling Pakistan that the two countries must address the issue of infiltration and cross-border terrorism before talking about Kashmir, Pakistan has gone ahead and invited Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to Islamabad for talks later this month.
Pakistan said it wanted to discuss the Kashmir dispute “as per the UN Security Council Resolutions”.
It also upped the ante and called for an immediate end to “human rights violations in Kashmir” and sought permission for Pakistani doctors and paramedics to travel to the state.
Earlier, Pakistan had invited India for talks on Kashmir, saying it is the “international obligation” of both the countries to resolve the issue. But India rejected Pakistan’s proposal to hold Foreign Secretary-level talks on Kashmir and insisted that discussions should be held on “aspects related to cross- border terrorism which are central to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said its Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had given a reply to Jaishankar’s proposal for talks on cross-border terror. The reply was handed over to Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambwale by Chaudhry in Islamabad.
The spokesperson said the letter invites the Indian Foreign Secretary to visit “Islamabad by the end of this month to discuss the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, with a view to finding a fair and just solution, as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions and aspirations” of the people of the state.
Pakistan has also called for “putting an immediate end to the human rights violations against the innocent people” of Jammu and Kashmir and for providing medical facilities to the injured, “including the permission for doctors and paramedics to travel.”
Earlier, when Jaishankar had expressed willingness to travel to Islamabad to discuss cross-border terrorism, India had maintained that Pakistan has no locus standi in addressing any aspect of the situation in J&K. India said that it was an internal matter of India and Pakistan’s only neded to put an end to cross-border terrorism and infiltration.
On Friday, India set certain conditions for talks, asserting that discussions should focus on cessation of terrorist activities in J&K and ending incitement to violence and terror in the Valley.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup Swarup said that Jaishankar had conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart that he accepts his invitation to visit Islamabad but made it clear the discussions should focus first on the pressing aspects of the J&K situation flagged by him.
Deliberations should also focus on denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists in Pakistan who have escaped Indian law, said Jaishankar in his letter to Pakistan.
“The ball is in Pakistan’s court now. They had made an offer, We have responded to the offer. It is up to them to carry it forward,” said Swarup.
The Foreign Secretary said he looked forward to discussing with his Pakistani counterpart the “earliest possible vacation of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of the Indian state of J&K”.
In his letter, the Foreign Secretary also underlined the importance of bringing to justice all those guilty in Pakistan for the attacks in Mumbai and at Pathankot airbase.
(With inputs from PTI)