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THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 29 AUGUST, 2014

India Pakistan Shadow Box, Agree to Talk Kashmir Without Talks

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly passes resolution for India Pakistan talks


NEW DELHI: The shadow boxing over India Pakistan talks continued with Pakistan maintaining there could be no dialogue without Kashmir, and India insisting that it was willing to discuss the issue within the framework of the bilateral agreements of the Simla pact and the Lahore Declaration.

It was not clear, however, to what talks both sides were referring to as the last round of foreign secretary level talks scheduled for August 25 was cancelled by the Indian government. And no announcement has been made subsequently about whether these will be held at all, let alone when.

Pakistan National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz responding to the above probably was quoted by the media as saying that his government had offered to host the talks in good faith but these were not possible without Kashmir being discussed. It might be recalled that New Delhi had rushed to cancel the dialogue after Pakistan envoy to Delhi met the Kashmiri separatist leaders after being asked, at short notice, by the foreign secretary Sujatha Singh to cancel the meetings. This move became highly controversial even within India as it was seen as having overnight strengthened the hitherto waning position of Pakistan in the Kashmir Valley.

In an out of context response, New Delhi has reacted to Sartaj Aziz’s reaction to the cancellation of the talks with MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin informing the media, "As regards engagement with Pakistan, we have made it very clear that we will engage in the framework of the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, and both these provide for discussing all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir."

It was of course not clear where and when this dialogue would take place. And whether the two governments were moving towards fixing new dates if at all.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution asking the state government to urge the Centre to resume the Indo-Pak dialogue. The resolution also asked the state government to urge the Centre to work towards putting a stop to firing on the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB), and rehabilitate the victims.

"The House resolves that the state government must urge the Union government to resume the process of Indo-Pak dialogue to ensure peace and stability in the sub-continent in general and the state of Jammu and Kashmir in particular," the resolution stated.

The resolution also asked the centre to take effective steps to prevent the firing on the Line of Control (LoC). "This House resolves that the state government should urge the Union government to take effective steps for prevention of LoC firing which has caused huge loss of life and property in the affected areas," the resolution added.

The resolution was passed unanimously after the members spoke in its favour. Earlier, three members — Ghulam Nabi Monga, Naresh Kumar Gupta, both from Congress and Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah of National Panthers Party — sought certain amendments to the resolution. Later Monga and Gupta withdrew their motion while Shah staged a walkout from the House.

Soon after the resolution was passed, J&K state BJP hit out at National Conference (NC), the Congress and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) saying they will have to pay a very heavy price for taking "recourse to pro-Pakistan line on the cancellation of the India-Pakistan bilateral talks".

"All of them acted as spokespersons of the rogue, terrorist and radicalized Pakistan by speaking its language in the legislature, denouncing the BJP-led government for the cancellation of talks with Pakistan, interfering in the Indian foreign policy matters and giving the separatist and communal constituency to understand that the NC-Congress coalition government didn't consider J&K an integral part of India," Jugal Kishore Sharma, state BJP president said.

"The NC government's eagerness to push a resolution advocating Indo-Pak talks in the face of peaceful Indian citizens being subjecting to cross fire and shelling is unjustifiable," said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, president of Panun Kashmir.

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