Kashmir issue to be discussed with Indian foreign secretary: FO

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ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Indian foreign secretary’s visit to Pakistan, the Foreign Office said on Thursday there is no specific agenda for the visit but various issues, including Kashmir, will be discussed.

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, “All issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen will be discussed during the foreign secretary level talks.”

The spokesperson said the visit is taking place in pursuant to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s telephonic call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which he expressed his intention to send the foreign secretary to Pakistan.

“We had welcomed this initiative of the Indian prime minister,” she added.

The Indian foreign secretary is due to arrive in Islamabad on March 3 as part of his visit to SAARC countries.

Read: Indian foreign secretary to visit Pakistan on March 3

The Indian External Affairs Ministry also indicated that New Delhi is ready to discuss all issues, including the longstanding Kashmir dispute.

Responding to a question, the foreign office spokesperson stressed that Pakistan’s foreign policy is based on having peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including India.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been tense over the past few months due to sporadic incidents of clashes along the Line of Control and working boundary.

Read: India’s interference in Pakistan, Kashmir to be raised with Indian foreign secretary: Aziz

However, the upcoming visit of Indian foreign secretary is likely to revive the stalled peace process.

The United States is believed to have played a crucial role in persuading the Modi government to re-engage with Pakistan.

Read: For regional peace: Pakistan urges US to persuade India on talks

Earlier, India had single-handedly called off secretary-level talks with Pakistan following a meeting between Pakistani High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and Hurriyat leaders from Kashmir.

Read: India calls off secretary-level talks with Pakistan over ‘unacceptable interference’

Presence of IS

Regarding recent reports of the presence of the Islamic State in Pakistan, the spokesperson said Pakistan will not allow the outfit to establish footholds in the country.

Read: Making inroads?: IS posing serious threat, admits foreign secretary

“In this regard, we will and are taking appropriate measures,” she said, reiterating Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Afghan peace talks with Taliban

Commenting on the initial contacts between Afghan Taliban and Afghan government, Aslam said Pakistan welcomes the peace talks.

“Pakistan welcomes the peace talks between the Afghan Taliban and government.”

Read: Afghan reconciliation: Taliban leadership gives go-ahead for peace talks

“Pakistan has and will continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in every possible manner,” she added.

Combatting terrorism

Furthermore, Aslam said Pakistan has been playing a key role in efforts against terrorism.

“We believe that our friends including the United States will provide necessary support to Pakistan to continue the anti-terror effort in an effective manner,” she said.

“Obama administration in its budgetary proposals for next fiscal year has proposed to give 804 million dollars assistance to Pakistan,” Aslam added.

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  1. The Hindu right wing nationalist party has said the reason was to do with SAARC or perhaps Pakistan taking the chair over the next SAARC summit.

    We would like to think Obama has also influenced the right wing nationalist Hindu leader and party to engage Pakistan.

    My opinion is that there are several reasons which are shifting paradigms in Afghanistan and the economic dimension in this equally important. Chinese, Russian, Central Asian state and Turkish integration with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Iran and Pakistan gas trade route, TAPI. A Washington rhetoric change towards Pakistan the Chinese Pakistan grand silk road via new road and rail links. Despite Indian violations Pakistan stern response to Indian Low violations and continued operations against the foreign funded terrorists.

    Scratch the surface and in a game of high stakes the cards are stacked in Pakistan’s favour across central Asia therefore the Indian thaw in their foreign stupidity relations wig Pakistan has nothing to do with their change in Kashmir but will seek access to Central Asian economy and Kashmir will be the carrot and the stick it dangles Kashmir over Pakistan is also a beating stick.

    I agree Pakistan and Pakistanis seeking lasting peace in their region and we should work towards building an Afghanistan for All Afghans our brothers. Equally we seek lasting peace with the Ganges Civilisation namely India and we have always pursued this.

    However let’s be frank while we should never turn off diplomacy one should be aware the leopard never changes it’s spots and in this case it’s a jaguar that pounces on us in the dark and we have no vigilance towards its great end and blinded by poor foreign policy towards India.

    It’s very simple use Pakistan advantage today as part of a foreign policy without anything swale until we have a clear decisive agenda on Kashmir, Sir Creek but also Junagadh and Manavadar.

    I have said this before destiny has knocked on Pakistan’s door before and we have denied it entry and yet again changing paradigms is Allah Azwajjals gift and how we conduct ourselves is integral to acceptance of this important gift.

    We should maintain diplomacy with India but unfortunately despite what all the neo liberals have to say WE have little faith in its sincerity.

    India has always prospered through Influence from her West- West of the Indus and it has not been the other way round.

    East of the Indus has never played fair historically and what’s to say it will today. It will not he blood of innocent Pakistanis is testimony to this.

    Therefore we need to outfox the fox, keep her in her den and not let her roam in our back yard. The Fox is never tamed but contained and if you become complacent the fox will sense this and will gain access again.

    The only language it knows is fear know where the line is and be stern with her when she crosses it.

    Our sovereignty and our national interests are our self respect. To stand up for them and to be stern on this matter only earns respect in the eyes of others and every nation is an enterprise and enterprises do not run without self respect and the confidence that comes with it.

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