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India proposal for bilateral dialogue with Pakistan is no longer credible: Sartaj Aziz

03 May, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday dismissed India's proposal to resolve the Kashmir dispute bilaterally with Pakistan, saying New Delhi had 'scuttled all opportunities for meaningful dialogue' over the past two decades, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).

Aziz's statement comes on the back of New Delhi's rejection of an offer extended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for multilateral resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India refused the proposition, insisting the matter must be resolved bilaterally through talks between Islamabad and New Delhi.

"The Indian counter-proposal that it is ready for bilateral dialogue with Pakistan is no longer credible because in the past two decades, India has scuttled all opportunities for a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN Security Council's relevant Resolutions on Kashmir," the FO quoted Aziz as saying.

The adviser said Erdogan's move to 'strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue, and his call for a multilateral approach to settle the Jammu and Kashmir dispute... must be welcomed'. He asserted that Pakistan welcomes statements and endeavours aimed at addressing human rights issues in India-held Kashmir (IHK) and resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Shortly before Erdogan's two-day visit to India, the Turkish president had suggested that Pakistan and India need to 'strengthen multilateral dialogue' in an attempt to find a solution to the Kashmir issue. Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Gopal Baglay, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, had said that the Kashmir issue has a 'prominent dimension of cross-border terrorism' that needs to be stopped by 'those who are perpetuating it, while pushing for a bilateral solution to the issue'.

Aziz slammed Baglay's statement, saying, "India's contention that Kashmir issue is, primarily, an issue of cross-border terrorism, is a claim that no one in the world is prepared to accept today." He added that an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's declaration adopted in April 'out-rightly rejected Indian attempts of equating the Kashmiris' freedom struggle with terrorism'.

Highlighting atrocities committed by Indian forces in IHK, the FO statement quoted Aziz as saying, "Nobody believes that thousands of young boys and girls, who have been agitating ceaselessly since July 2016, are terrorists." "The Indian government has broken its own record of brutality in Indian-held Kashmir," the statement said, adding that over 100 Kashmiri protesters have been killed in IHK.

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