Kashmir Must Be Discussed
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says it wants to discuss Kashmir and other unresolved issues with India when the foreign secretaries of the two countries meet, possibly later this month.
Pakistan had a "strong case" on several outstanding issues, including Kashmir and the sharing of river waters, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said at a gathering in his hometown Multan Sunday.
At the same time, Qureshi took a hard line, pointing out that Pakistan had not knelt before India, which had now "sought talks" and a return to the negotiating table.
"India had broken off the composite dialogue process and spoken of severing contacts with Pakistan. It has come to us and sought talks. We never kneeled before them and did not bow to their pressure," Qureshi maintained.
He also claimed India had tried to isolate Pakistan diplomatically but had failed to do so due to the "effective" policies pursued by Islamabad.
Qureshi's remarks come as Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik is in Islamabad to discuss the two dates - Feb 18 or Feb 25 - proposed by India for the foreign secretary-level talks in New Delhi.
Malik had on Friday met Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to work out the modalities for the talks, at which New Delhi has indicated that it is ready to discuss all bilateral issues of concern.
On its part, India has said it was premature to talk about resuming the composite dialogue at the present moment and made it clear to Pakistan that the proposed talks are part of "a step-by-step incremental approach" and that Islamabad should "do more" to address New Delhi's concerns over cross-border terror.
The foreign secretaries' talks could be followed by meetings between the foreign ministers and prime ministers of the two countries on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Thimphu in April.
Qureshi also said he would hold meetings during the week to study the Indian proposal and finalise the agenda for the talks.
India had frozen the composite dialogue process in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that New Delhi blames on elements operating from this country.
Pakistan admits that part of the Mumbai conspiracy was planned in this country. The trial has also begun here of six operatives of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group that India says masterminded the Mumbai carnage, that claimed the lives of 166 people, including 26 foreigners.a