Pakistan tells India Turkey offer for multilateral talks on Kashmir should be welcomed

MAMOSA Report — Pakistan on Tuesday rejected India’s proposal to resolve Kashmir dispute bilaterally, saying New Delhi has “scuttled all opportunities for meaningful dialogue” over the past two decades, and asserted it should take up on Turkish President’s offer for multilateral talks on Kashmir “once and for all.”

The Indian counter-proposal came on the back of its rejection of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s proposal for multilateral resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India refused the proposition, insisting the matter must be resolved bilaterally through talks between Islamabad and New Delhi.

Several weeks back, the Trump administration offered to mediate between the two warring neighbors on the unfinished agenda of 1947 partition. India refused calling it a bilateral issue.

The United States and Turkey are NATO allies, who like China, Russia, Iran, Central Asian and other countries, wish to see counterterrorism efforts in the region succeed, Pakistan and India settle its disputes, and regional trade, connectivity get jump-started.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office of Pakistan, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Erdogan’s move to “strengthen the dialogue process among the stakeholders for resolving the Kashmir issue, and his call for a multilateral approach to settle the Jammu and Kashmir dispute… must be welcomed”.

“The Indian counter-proposal that it is ready for bilateral dialogue with Pakistan is no longer credible because in the past two decades, India has scuttled all opportunities for a meaningful dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN Security Council’s relevant Resolutions on Kashmir,” the FO quoted Aziz as saying.

Shortly before Erdogan’s two-day visit to Delhi, the Turkish president had suggested in an interview with a TV channel that Pakistan and India need to ‘strengthen multilateral dialogue’ in an attempt to find a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said, in a veiled reference to Pakistan that the Kashmir issue has a “prominent dimension of cross-border terrorism” that needs to be stopped by “those who are perpetuating it, while pushing for a bilateral solution to the issue.

Aziz slammed Baglay’s statement, saying: “India’s contention that Kashmir issue is primarily an issue of cross-border terrorism, is a claim that no one in the world is prepared to accept today.”

He added that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s declaration adopted in April “outrightly rejected Indian attempts of equating the Kashmiris’ freedom struggle with terrorism.”

Highlighting atrocities committed by Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir, the statement quoted Aziz as saying, “Nobody believes that thousands of young boys and girls, who have been agitating ceaselessly since July 2016, are terrorists.”

“The Indian government has broken its own record of brutality in Indian Occupied Kashmir,” the statement said, adding that over 100 Kashmiri protesters have been killed in IHK.

“Indian forces have blinded hundreds of Kashmiris, including children, and injured over 16,000 protesters with live ammunition, pellet guns and gas shells,” the FO said.

The statement pointed out that the people of IHK are “losing faith in Indian democracy”, citing low voter turn-out during the recently held by-polls in Srinagar as evidence.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert world attention away from ‘atrocities’ committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

The two countries have locked horns over the Kashmir issue after Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.

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