No breakthrough expected on bilateral dialogue with India: Sartaj Aziz

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan does not expect any breakthrough on resumption of bilateral dialogue with India while the Modi-administration is in-charge of affairs, Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said Tuesday. Aziz was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the annual conference of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in Islamabad. Earlier in August, India had called off foreign secretary-level bilateral talks with Pakistan following criticism of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah.”India has suspended [the] dialogue process and now it’s their responsibility to resume it,” he said.

News agencies had quoted the Indian External Affairs as saying: “Pakistan High Commissioner’s meeting with the ‘so-called’ separatist leaders undermines the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Indian premier Narendra Modi on his very first day in office.”

Aziz also lamented the attitude of the Indian government towards the Kashmir dispute and said that the neighbouring country wanted to link Kashmir with terrorism to divert the world’s attention.

“Over the last forty years bilateral-ism has failed on Kashmir and that’s why Pakistan wanted to engage international community on the matter,” he remarked.

Aziz said that friendship with India could only be possible without compromising on our self-respect, honour and equality.

In December last year, Pakistan and India had pledged to uphold the 2003 LoC ceasefire accord which had been left in tatters by repeated violations that year. The truce breaches had put the nascent bilateral peace dialogue on hold.

The Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the UN-monitored de facto border of LoC but is claimed in full by both the countries.