India setting preconditions for talks, says Pakistan

New York, Oct 2 (IANS) Pakistan has accused India of “setting preconditions” for bilateral talks and “vitiating atmosphere” between the two countries, and has presented dossier to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon containing alleged evidence of “Indian involvement in terrorism and fomenting instability in Pakistan”.

In a reply through Bilal Ahmad, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the UN, Islamabad accused New Delhi of “illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The Pakistan statement came as an exercise of right to reply in response to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, in which she said India was ready for a dialogue with Pakistan based on just one point: “Give up terror”.

Responding to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s four-point peace initiative, the Indian minister said, “We do not need four points, we need just one – give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk.”

Ahmad said India should withdraw its troops from Kashmir and called for a plebiscite, citing UN Security Council resolutions of pre-’50s.

“The core issue of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be cast aside by empty rhetoric. It has been and will always be on top of the agenda of any talks between India and Pakistan. This is because durable peace and stability in the region depends on a just and lasting settlement of this dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” Ahmad said.

He said it was “disingenuous of India to ignore the serious peace initiative” proposed by Sharif at the UN. He said India had conveyed its willingness to talk but imposed preconditions, knowing that these would be unacceptable to Pakistan.

“India’s insistence on limiting the talks to a one-point agenda proves that it is neither interested nor serious in engaging in a genuine dialogue. Using the terrorism bogey, India has not only stalled the bilateral dialogue but also vitiated the overall atmosphere between the two countries,” he said.

Ahmad also alleged that India has “failed to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism against innocent civilians in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings”, and spoke of “massacre of Muslims in Gujarat”.

The Pakistan official said his country on Thursday handed over to the UN Secretary General dossiers containing “evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism and fomenting instability in Pakistan”.

“The dossier include details of Indian interference and support for terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi as well as its security and intelligence agencies’ links with the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban), especially in FATA (Federally-Administered Tribal Areas),” Ahmad said.

He said despite “India’s hostile attitude”, Pakistan wants to move forward in an open and constructive manner.

The Pakistani official said Sharif’s peace initiative was in line with his vision of a friendly neighbourhood which he enunciated immediately after taking office two years ago.

“We hope that India will respond positively in the interest of peace and prosperity, the cherished collective objective of our peoples,” Ahmad said.

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