Not putting Kashmir issue on backburner: Pakistan

Pakistan on Friday said it is not putting the "core issue" of Kashmir on the backburner as it works to normalise ties with India.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday said it is not
putting the "core issue" of Kashmir on the backburner as it
works to normalise ties with India, and any final settlement
between the two sides would be linked to realising the
"aspirations of the Kashmiri people".

"The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is about the people of
Kashmir and their inalienable right to self-determination.
Therefore, there is no question of freezing this issue or
putting this core dispute on the backburner," Foreign Office
spokesman Abdul Basit said.

"Doubtless, we are taking steps on the path to normalise
Pakistan-India relations but reaching the final destination
will inevitably be contingent upon realisation of Kashmiris`
aspirations," he said during the weekly news briefing in
response to a question on whether Pakistan is willing to set
aside the Kashmir issue while normalising ties with India.

Basit remarked that the UN Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights defenders had recently urged the
Indian government to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers)
Act and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.

Replying to another question on the need for India and
Pakistan to work together to settle the Siachen issue in order
to minimise damage to the environment, Basit said Islamabad
wanted the matter to be "resolved as quickly as possible".

The military standoff on Siachen is one of the subjects
being discussed in the resumed dialogue process and
Islamabad`s effort "continues to be to seek early resolution
of this issue, like all other issues between Pakistan and
India, particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir",
Basit said.

Responding to yet another question, Basit said he was
unaware of any Track-II discussions that were part of efforts
to resolve issues between India and Pakistan.

"I am not aware of any such discussions as part of
Pakistan`s policy decisions but these contacts have been made,
discussions are being held but perhaps in their private

"There is no government policy as far as these discussions
are concerned," he said.

India and Pakistan last year resumed their peace process
after a break of over two years in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai
terror attacks.

Since then, the two sides have taken several steps to
normalise relations in various fields, particularly trade.