Pak will not forget Kashmir issue during talks: Bashir

Last Updated: Friday, June 18, 2010 - 19:58

Islamabad: Pakistan will try to find a
"common denominator" during upcoming talks with Indian Foreign
Secretary Nirupama Rao without "forgetting" outstanding issues
like Kashmir, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir has said.

"We do not have a prepared agenda. We will see what
can be identified as doable and then take it to the Foreign
Ministers` level.

In this meeting, we will try and find a common
denominator," Bashir said, referring to talks he will hold
with Rao in Islamabad on June 24.

"There has to be a comfort level on both sides which
will help us pick up the doable for the Foreign Ministers.

This does not mean we will forget other issues like
Jammu and Kashmir," Bashir told The News daily.
India has said is not going to discuss substantive
issues like Kashmir with Pakistan in the proposed rounds of
dialogue but is only attempting to create the "right
atmosphere" for removing the trust deficit for a broad
dialogue later.

"We are not going to discuss substantive issues like
Kashmir. As of now now our effort is to create a right
atmosphere. Only then some degree of trust can be created
between the two countries," highly-placed sources in the
government had said last week in New Delhi.

The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan have
been tasked by Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza
Gilani to find ways to bridge the trust deficit between the
two countries and to prepare the grounds for a meeting between
the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on July 15.

Rao is the first senior Indian official to visit
Islamabad since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which were blamed on
the Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba terror group.
India suspended the composite dialogue in the wake of
the attacks and diplomatic sources have told PTI that the two
countries are set to adopt a new format for future parleys.

Bashir said Pakistan`s assessment suggested that the
"Indian side will be more forthcoming" in next week`s meeting.
"There are some indications that substantive matters
would be discussed. This is good," he said.
He contended that India`s current "tone and tenor is
more restrained," as compared to the situation that prevailed
following the Foreign Secretary-level talks in New Delhi in
February.

PTI



First Published: Friday, June 18, 2010 - 19:58

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