Sharif seeks US intervention to resolve Kashmir issue

SansadTV Bureau

File photo of PM Narendra Modi meeting Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif (PTI)

In his meeting with US President Barack Obama, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif raised the Kashmir issue.

Sharif, who is on a 4-day trip to the US, met President Obama on Thursday evening.

Sharif described Kashmir as “a flashpoint” between India and Pakistan, and called for US intervention as a third party mediation to resolve the dispute to resume Indo-Pak dialogue process.

“(Currently) there are no bilateral talks (between India and Pakistan) on resolving the Kashmir issue. In that scenario there should be a third party mediation on this. If India does not accept a third party role, if there is no bilateral talks then there is a stalemate,” Sharif told reporters after meeting Obama.

“This stalemate needs to be addressed,” the Prime Minister clarified.

“It (Kashmir) also figured in the joint statement,” Sharif said adding all of them recognised that Kashmir is a “flashpoint” and it needs to be resolved.

Sharif claimed that he briefed Obama how India was not responding to the Kashmir peace initiative.

“Unfortunately, Pakistan has not received adequate response from India on its peace initiative,” he said.

He also said that the US was the “most relevant” party to get involved in the matter to resolve the conflict.

“Members noted the Prime Minister’s proposal that given India’s resistance to bilaterally resolve outstanding issues including Kashmir, it would be imperative to have the third party intervention for which the United States would be most relevant,” said the official statement.

India n PakistanHowever, India is completely against any kind of third-party involvement on the Kashmir row. In August this year, NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan were cancelled over difference in the agenda of the meet. Pakistan wanted to make Kashmiri Separatist leaders a third-party for the talks but India refused to budge. Also, India had clearly said that the two countries should address the issue of terror first, before venturing into other issues. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, while addressing the UNGA meet held in New York last month thoroughly dismissed Sharif’s 5-point peace measures, saying, “terror and talks cannot go hand in hand.”

In the press briefing in Washington, Sharif blamed PM Modi for derailing the talks.

“He agreed for talks and then suddenly unilaterally cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks….Had he (Modi) talked to me. Things could have been different. But he took such a decision without consulting me,” Sharif said.

Meanwhile, US has said that Pakistan’s relationship with India is critical to Islamabad’s future. US urged Pakistan to normalise ties bilaterally.

“I think it’s clear that Pakistan’s relationship with India is critical to Pakistan’s future, and the normalization of relations between the two countries is vital both to them and to the stability in the region,” the White House Deputy Press Secretary, Eric Schultz said.

In the joint statement after the talks, Obama and Sharif called for a “sustained and resilient” Indo-Pak dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

On the issue of cross-border firing at the LoC, both Obama and Sharif both expressed concern and pledged their support for confidence-building measures and “effective mechanisms” that are acceptable to both parties, the statement said.

Meanwhile, India has reacted to Pakistan taking up the Kashmir issue with the US.

“Let me make it clear that India has always desired resolution of all outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally through dialogue and peaceful means….It is Pakistan which has chosen terrorism as the instrument of state policy. We hope that this visit conveys a clear message to Pakistan that international community is deeply concerned about its support and sponsorship of terrorists,” said Spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry, Vikas Swarup.

While talking about US’ concern regarding LeT and Haqqani network operating from Pakistan, Swarup said, “Obama has significantly also raised concerns about US nationals being held hostage by terrorist groups in that region. It is for the first time and LeT and Haqqani network are specifically mentioned in the US-Pak joint statement.”

“We hope that they (Pakistan) deliver on these commitments,” Swarup added.

(With inputs from PTI)