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A day after war-talk, Pak bats for dialogue

Islamabad, December 5
A day after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s reported remarks on Kashmir created a furore, Pakistan today said the issue should be resolved peacefully and through "meaningful and substantive" talks.

Speaking at a press conference, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry also said the Siachen glacier should be demilitarised and there should be disengagement of forces.

"We believe the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully through talks for which we have always urged the Indian government to engage with us in meaningful and substantive talks. We also believe that Kashmiri leadership should be associated with that resolution," Chaudhry said. Both sides should work on addressing the mistrust that exists and divides them, he said.

A leading Pakistani daily reported on Wednesday that Sharif had contended that the Kashmir issue was a flashpoint that "can trigger a fourth war" with India. His office later denied the statement. However, the daily today said it was part of the statement issued by the Information Department at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Asked about Prime Minister's statement that he would like to see "held-Kashmir free from the Indian occupation", Chaudhry said, "Our position has been very clear. Pakistan has always extended moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people and this is nothing new. At the same time, the Prime Minister has also voiced his desire for peaceful and good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan. I think resolution of Kashmir issue would actually help that broader objective."

On the proposed ‘great wall’ along the LoC, Chaudhry said there was an understanding that there should be no construction within 500 metres of the LoC which should be respected. — PTI





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