Ahead of NSA talks, Pakistan envoy rakes up Kashmir issue


abdul-basit

Ahead of the talks between national security advisers of India and Pakistan, Islamabad’s envoy Abdul Basit has struck a discordant note, saying his country will continue to support the people and leaders of Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking at a function at Pakistan High Commission on the occasion of Independence Day, Mr Basit said: “Pakistan will continue its full support to the people and leaders of Kashmir in their legitimate struggle to self determination.” “India and Pakistan must resolve the Kashmir issue,” he added. 

Terrorism is expected to top the agenda during the meeting between Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz and his Indian counterpart in New Delhi on August 23-24. Mr Aziz has already announced that he will visit New Delhi, but India’s foreign office has yet to make an official announcement about the much-awaited talks. The NSA-level meeting was the key outcome that emerged from bilateral talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the Russian city of Ufa on July 10.  

India is understood to have prepared dossiers on the alleged role of Pakistan-based elements in the recent Gurdaspur and Udhampur attacks. Pakistan, as the envoy’s statement indicated, will try to score brownie points by raking up the Kashmir issue. Significantly, there was no mention of the Kashmir issue in the joint statement that emerged from the Ufa meeting last month, which seem to have provoked a backlash from Pakistan’s powerful military establishment.