Saturday Apr 10, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has again offered India a dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir problem.
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri made the offer during a weekly press briefing on Friday.
Chaudhri did not rule out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan to attend the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit if it was held in October and said Pakistan will be "happy to host him".
Media reports had been suggesting that contacts between Pakistan and India had progressed and a visit by Modi was likely.
“Pakistan considers Saarc an important organisation to enhance regional cooperation. As we have ascertained earlier, whenever artificial obstacles created in the way of Saarc summit are removed, we will be happy to host,” the FO spokesperson said.
In the past, Modi had vetoed the Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad and was joined by few other Saarc states.
Chaudhri said Pakistan is ready to engage with India and hold talks, but only after New Delhi takes some steps which he did not elaborate upon.
He maintained that Pakistan "never shied away from talks with India and always emphasized the need for a meaningful dialogue and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute".
“India has vitiated the atmosphere, and the onus is on it to create an enabling and conducive environment for talks between the two countries,” Chaudhri said, referring to the August 5, 2019 changes that had been made in Indian Kashmir.
The extra-judicial killings by the Indian occupation forces continued unabated during the last week as well. At least 10 more Kashmiris were martyred in Pulwama and Shopian districts of Indian held Kashmir.
Chaudhri said Pakistan had repeatedly called for independent investigations under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris.
The spokesperson said Pakistan was concerned over the continuing military siege, incarceration of the Kashmiri leadership and unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people.
Pakistan and India have their "ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars", the FO spokesperson said when asked whether talks were currently continuing between the two countries.
“Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important. What is important is, one, whether Pakistan should talk to India, two, what should be discussed between the two sides and three, what constitutes conducive environment for a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue,” Chaudhri replied.
As for the role of third parties, including the US is concerned, we believe that the international community has an important role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Kashmir problem in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions, the FO spokesperson said.
He said Pakistan believes durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.