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Pakistan rejects conditions on dialogue with India

Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam during her weekly briefing in Islamabad said, “Dialogue with India is not a favour, but a necessity for peace and development in South Asia.”

The statement came a day after the Indian defence minister drew a new “red line” by saying that Pakistan would have to choose between talking to the Indian government or Kashmiri Hurriyat leadership.

Responding to Arun Jaitley’s statement yesterday, the spokesperson said, “All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leaders are not separatists, but freedom fighters who are carrying out their movement from an occupied territory.”

Jaitley, who holds the portfolio of defence and finance, also said, while addressing the India Economic Summit in New Delhi, that “unless Pakistan makes a conscious choice, a dialogue with Pakistan will not be possible.”

In August, India called off the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan, a day after Pakistan’s envoy penciled in meetings with Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders in New Delhi.

Since then, both sides have also engaged in border skirmishes, killing dozens along the contentious Line of Control between the two nuclear arch rivals.

“Pakistan does not want to stop trade between India and Afghanistan through its territory,” Aslam remarked on Thursday.

“Afghanistan is a landlocked country and Pakistan has given it access to the international waters. India can use the Karachi Port for trade purposes,” Aslam added.

Referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China, the spokesperson said a number of agreements and MoUs are likely to be signed. She said most of these agreements are in energy sector.

Source: The Express Tribune

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