Saturday, 22 August 2015

Pakistan calls off NSA talks, blames India's 'pre-conditions'...............

Pakistan called off next week’s crucial NSA-level talks between Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, after neither side blinked on its stated agenda for the dialogue.
Talks cannot be held on India's pre-conditions, Islamabad said in a statement.
The move came after foreign minister Sushma Swaraj gave Islamabad time till midnight to provide an assurance that the meeting would focus only on terror and Kashmiri separatists would not be made a third party in their diplomatic engagements.
“There will be no talks,” Swaraj declared on a day of sharp public exchanges, when asked what would happen if Pakistan did not accept the position outlined by her.
The minister addressed the media hours after Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz said he was willing to come for the dialogue on August 23-24 if India did not set any preconditions and insisted that Kashmir must be a part of the agenda.
“Keeping in mind the spirit of the (1972) Simla agreement, don’t make Hurriyat a third party to the talks, and keeping the spirit of Ufa (in Russia), don’t expand the subject of talks beyond terrorism,” Swaraj said. “Pakistan is saying Kashmir is the core issue but they did not say so in Ufa.”
She was referring to a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries who had agreed to the NSA-level meeting in the Russian town last month, aiming to resume a larger peace dialogue.
But the trip came under a cloud when Pakistan’s high commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit called leaders from the Hurriyat and other Kashmiri separatist groups to meet Aziz in the city.
“On my part, I am still prepared to go to New Delhi for NSA talks without any preconditions,” Aziz told a press conference in Islamabad. “No serious talks with India are possible without discussion on the core issue of Kashmir.”
India’s determination to not allow the separatists to be a party to the engagement was reflected in the detention of JKDFP leader Shabir Shah and Hurriyat’s Bilal Lone as soon as they arrived in the Capital to attend a scheduled reception for Aziz in the Pakistan high commission on Sunday.
Other separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Showkat Ahmad Bakshi also plan to fly to New Delhi to meet with Aziz.
“We will go to Delhi,” said Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for the Hurriyat (G) group. “If they (the government of India) want to arrest us, they can.”