Pak raises Kashmir with US delegation
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Pak raises Kashmir with US delegation

Pakistan on Thursday raised the Kashmir issue with a visiting US delegation and said the decade-long dispute has implications for peace and security in the region.

Pakistan on Thursday raised the Kashmir issue with a visiting US delegation and said the decade-long dispute has implications for peace and security in the region.

US delegation led by Ambassador Alice G Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, called on Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua here.

The Foreign Secretary drew attention of the US delegation on the situation in Kashmir and the "brutal repression of a just and peaceful struggle, and its implications for peace and security in the region," Foreign Office said in a statement.

Pakistan's perspectives on challenges confronting the region including the security situation in Afghanistan were also discussed during their meeting, it said.

The Foreign Secretary hoped that the ongoing US review would result in a comprehensive political strategy to promote reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan and the region, it added.

She assured Wells that Pakistan supports all initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable peace and security in the region and emphasized that a strong partnership with the US was critical in achieving these shared objectives.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Thursday said though bilateral dialogue with India has been stalled, a number of civil society organisations were engaged in backchannel talks to discuss contentious issues.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, in his weekly briefing, said civil society organisations, that include people from different walks of life, are conducting such interactions occasionally.

To a question on the current India-China stand-off in the Sikkim sector, the spokesperson said Pakistan was concerned at the "increasing Indian belligerence" in the region, which he said was endangering regional peace and stability.

To a query on Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement linking Pakistan with terrorism in a speech this week, Zakaria termed it "baseless". He said India needs to introspect as Pakistan has suffered the most because of terrorism, both in terms of human and economic losses.

He also said that India needed to introspect on its "own state-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the belligerent attitude it has adopted towards its smaller neighbours".

He blamed India for stalling of the bilateral dialogue process.

He said since the Bharatiya Janata Party has assumed power in India, "the relationship has witnessed a downward trajectory".

On Kashmir, Zakaria said the Indian government was trying to label the "indigenous" movement for self-determination as terrorism.

He also condemned the "unlawful" detention of Kashmiri leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. PTI/IANS

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