‘Core issue’ of Kashmir will always top bilateral talks: Pakistan

The “core issue” of Kashmir will always top the agenda of any bilateral talks, Pakistan has said while responding to India’s assertion that dialogue can begin only when Islamabad stops backing terrorism.

‘Core issue’ of Kashmir will always top bilateral talks - PakistanPakistan outlined its stance while exercising its “right of reply” to respond to foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s address to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, when she said that Islamabad should focus on the issue of terrorism instead of the four-point peace initiative proposed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“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,” said Bilal Ahmad, counsellor in Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN.

“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 alleged India is using the “terrorism bogey” to stall bilateral dialogue. He also blamed India for unrest and terror on Pakistani soil, saying dossiers on the matter had been handed over to UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.

“Using the terrorism bogey, India has not only stalled the bilateral dialogue but also vitiated the overall atmosphere between the two countries,” he said.

“It is therefore disingenuous of India to ignore the serious peace initiative proposed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan from this august forum,” he added.

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