Pak will talk to Hurriyat before India: Sharif

MUZZAFARABAD: Pakistan will speak with Kashmiri leaders before it enters into dialogue with India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Thursday.

Ignoring New Delhi’s opposition, Prime Minister Sharif told Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad that Pakistan will hold dialogue with Kashmiri leadership to take them into confidence before engaging in peace talks with India.

“It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with India but it cancelled the scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries,” he said addressing the meeting in the capital of Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir.

 “Before starting dialogue with India, I have decided to consult the Kashmiri leaders”.

Sharif’s comments came ahead of SAARC summit next week in Nepal which will be attended by Prime Minister’s of both India and Pakistan.

Sharif asked the international community to play its role to press India for starting talks for the resolution of Kashmir issue.

Sharif said his government was pro-actively highlighting the issue of Kashmir at every forum, including at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.

He however admitted the failure of seeking International support for the Pakistani stand on Kashmir. 

Expressing concern over the silence of the UN and international community on the Kashmir issue Sharif urged them to take initiative for resolution of the dispute according to UN Security Council’s resolutions and the aspiration of Kashmiri people.

He said India has always exhibited its traditional stubbornness regarding the Kashmir issue. He said declaring the struggle of Kashmiris as terrorism is wrong approach of India, which is a struggle for right to self-determination. 

India called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held on August 25 after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with leaders of Hurriyat Conference.

India said Pakistan’s actions were interfering in its internal affairs and were “unacceptable”.

Shunning Indian accusations related to Pakistan harbouring militants in the country, the premier said it was a lie that Pakistan was providing sanctuaries to anti-India elements,

“India has a propoganda against us that we are harbouring terrorists in order to cover up their wrong doings in Kashmir,” he said, adding that Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism and was doing everything to eliminate it. Agencies

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