Kashmir Is The Core Issue: Pak
6 May 2015
: Stating that there was no prospect of immediate resumption of India-Pakistan talks, Pakistan envoy to India has said Kashmir was the core issue and other issues including terror were sub-set of the bigger issue. 'Pakistan viewed Jammu and Kashmir as the core issue. All the other issues, including terror, were a sub-set of the bigger and central Jammu and Kashmir issue,' Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit told TV channel Headlines Today in an interview. On media reports that India and Pakistan had worked out a solution to permit Pakistan to talk to Hurriyat in such a way as not to offend India, he said it could be correct. 'I have since August been meeting Hurriyat leaders and Indian government has not objected,' he said. Asked about Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's recent statement that India unilaterally called off our bilateral dialogue process on a frivolous pretext, Pakistan envoy said that even nine months after the talks were called off, because he met with Hurriyat, Pakistan continues to view the excuse as frivolous. He said Pakistan's understanding of India's attitude had not improved over the last nine months. 'PM Nawaz Sharif had invested a lot of effort and taken a big step by coming to Narendra Modi's swearing-in as Indian PM in May and felt let down by the way the relationship thereafter had failed to develop'. He said there has been no substantial improvement in prospects for political dialogue between India and Pakistan since August when the Foreign Secretary level talks were called off. 'Any hopes that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar's SAARC yatra visit to Islamabad might rekindle the stalled dialogue process have turned out to be still born. Pakistan was disappointed but not frustrated,' he said adding Pakistan would continue to try to resume the dialogue process but agreed there was no prospect of immediate success. On JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, he said, 'Hafiz was wrong to claim in April that Pakistan army was carrying out 'jihad' in Kashmir'. Asked why Pakistan had not acted against Hafiz for this statement, Basit said it was not necessary to act against every foolish statement. Pakistan High Commissioner said there were no grounds for Pakistan to arrest Hafiz either under the Anti-Terrorist Act or the Maintenance of Public Order Act. 'By allowing Hafiz to travel freely in country, Pakistan government had not breached the terms of UN Resolution 1267,' he said adding restrictions on travel only apply to foreigners who are designated as terrorists and come to Pakistan and not to Pakistan's own citizens. When asked whether the huge gap and differences over Lakhvi and Saeed and, now, over the importance of terror vis-Ã -vis Kashmir as the core issue meant that it's virtually impossible for the political dialogue process to start the High Commissioner seemed to agree. However, he added, he would continue to strive for the process to resume. On fears of Indian government that Laskhar commander Lakhvi may be acquitted by Pakistan court for his involvement in Mumbai attacks by Pakistan government, Basit said, 'I don't accept the legitimacy of Indian fears that after Islamabad High Court has set a two month deadline for completing Lakhvi's trial this is likely to lead to his acquittal rather than conviction'. He also denied the charge that Pakistan's legal and political system had not done enough for fair trial of Lakhvi. 'India should wait for the end of the trial without commenting on the process or speculating about the outcome.' Asked whether the huge gap and differences over Lakhvi and Saeed and, now, over the importance of terror vis-Ã -vis Kashmir as the core issue meant that it's virtually impossible for the political dialogue process to start, Basit seemed to agree. However, he said he would continue to strive for the process to resume. Basit termed the statement of Indian Minister in Parliament that India does not know where Dawood Ibrahim is located as vindication of Pakistan's stand that Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan. 'Indian minister's statement also raises critical and disturbing questions about the veracity of India's dossiers which he described as self-serving,' he said adding to the best of his knowledge India has never requested in writing the extradition of Dawood Ibrahim.