Kashmir tops list of outstanding issues with India: Sartaj Aziz


ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Monday said that Kashmir tops list of outstanding issues with India and Pakistan will always stand by the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle.


Addressing a press conference regarding Prime Minister’s visit to Ufa, Sartaj Aziz said the 10 July meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not the formal start of any dialogue process but it served an important purpose to achieve an understanding that both neighbors must reduce tensions and hostility in order to constructively engage in a structured dialogue on all issues of bilateral and regional interest, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that the statement issued after the meeting clearly recognizes that “India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues”.

“And we all know which are those outstanding issues. Kashmir of course tops the list of outstanding issues, but there are also other important issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Interference and Water. Kashmiris have suffered for three generations now,” he added.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has stood by the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif affirmed our principled position in clear and unequivocal terms during his annual speech at the UN General Assembly.

“We would continue to extend political, moral, and diplomatic support to our Kashmiri brethren,” he said.

The adviser said that the meeting provided an opportunity to identify some areas where the two countries could promote cooperation right away in order to reduce tensions and hostility.

He said: “Peace and tranquility on the LoC and Working Boundary is in the interest of both countries. Even though at present ceasefire is by and large being maintained, there have been occasions when this ceasefire was violated causing casualties and injuries to people inhabiting those areas.”

“Both leaders agreed that the existing mechanism of regular meetings between DG Rangers, DG BSFs and DG MOs should be held to ensure full compliance with the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding.”

Aziz further remarked that the two sides have also agreed to revive Track II dialogue to explore ways of resolving issues that are lingering for a long time and need to be resolved in order to give peace a chance. Modalities for this track will be worked out through diplomatic channels.

He said Pakistan has been deeply concerned, not only about hostile statements from Indian Ministers but also about Indian interference in Pakistan, including continuing support for insurgency in Balochistan.

India on the other hand has been repeating its traditional accusations of cross border terrorism while overlooking the decisive counter terrorism campaign launched by Pakistan in the past 2 years.

“To address these acrimonious concerns the two sides agreed that the National Security Advisers of the two countries would meet, first in New Delhi and then in Islamabad,” Sartaj Aziz said.

On Mumbai trial case, he said that Pakistan need more evidence and information to conclude the trial.

The adviser said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also sought information on the progress made on the trial of Samjhauta express terrorist incident.

As the end, he said that Pakistan’s reach out to neighbors and constructive engagement with the rest of the world is predicated on our firm commitment to protect security and promote national interests.