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Pak will not forget Kashmir issue during talks: Bashir

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.



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.

"The Indian leadership has made efforts to highlight
the fact that they want better relations," he said.

Referring to efforts to build trust and confidence
between the two countries, Bashir said both sides have a
vision for peace and "have to look at the stark realities
before them as we have to deal with real issues and start
building the (peace) process brick by brick."

Bashir said Pakistan is not averse to giving another
name to the composite dialogue process, which had led to
progress on key areas like Kashmir and conventional and
nuclear confidence-building measures.

"If we agree on a process of engagement, like
agreeing to start the process and agreeing on a fixed calendar
of meetings, you can call it whatever you want," he said.

Referring to cooperation in tackling terrorism,
Bashir said Pakistan and India could "look into an array of
things instead of indulging in a blame game."

They can develop the "modalities of a framework for
fighting terrorism" and revamp the existing Joint
Anti-Terrorism Mechanism.

Bashir indicated that the talks would be guided by
the national interests of the two countries.

"Pakistan wants development for which we need
stability. This applies equally to India," he said.

PTI

From Zee News

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