ISLAMABAD: National Security adviser Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday there was no question of talks with India without Kashmir on the agenda.
“The dialogue process with India would be meaningless without the core issue of Kashmir on agenda,” the prime minister’s senior aide said during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan.
“Pakistan wanted a constructive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India on all issues of mutual concern,” Aziz emphasised.
His statements come after Kerry earlier in the day urged India and Pakistan to return to peace talks.
“It is profoundly in the interests of Pakistan and India to move their relationship forward,” he told reporters in Islamabad.
“This is the hardest kind of work. It means you have to put a lot of time and effort into overcoming historical mistrust and past events, enmities,” the secretary of state added.
Washington would do whatever it could to help, the top US diplomat said, but he stressed it was ultimately up to the two sides to resolve their differences.
The adviser maintained that India singlehandedly cancelled foreign secretary-level with Pakistan scheduled for August last year after the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held talks with Hurriyet leaders and now the onus was on them to initiate dialogue.
Aziz said recent incidents of unprovoked and indiscriminate firing by India on the Line of Control and working boundary were a source of serious concern to Pakistan.
“Pakistan wants peaceful relations with all its neighbours, both on the eastern and western borders,” he said, hoping that the US would play its role in resolving the issues with India for regional peace and prosperity.
Recent exchanges of fire across the LoC have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes.
The US remains “deeply concerned by the increasing spate of increased violence along the working boundary and the Line of Control”, Kerry said.
Kerry further said he would continue to encourage the two sides to move forward and hold dialogue to resolve the issue.