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Sharif aACAyready for peace talks with India'.

Islamabad: Pakistan once again says that it is ready for talks with India without any preconditions, insisting the four-point peace initiative presented at the UN by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the way forward.

"The initiative is the way forward for reducing tension and resolving outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India," Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said at a media briefing.

In his address at the UN General Assembly last week, Sharif proposed a mutual pledge by India and Pakistan not to resort to use of force or such other threat under any circumstances and respect for the 2003 bilateral accord for a ceasefire along the Kashmir Line of Control.

He also suggested demilitarisation of the disputed Kashmir region and withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani troops from the Siachen Glacier.

The Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan has never shied away from talks with New Delhi.

"We have insisted on negotiations on all issues, including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan is ready for talks with India but preconditions are not acceptable," Khalilullah said.

In August a scheduled meeting between the national security advisers of the two countries was cancelled due to differences over agenda and Pakistan's rejection of an Indian demand that its adviser avoid meeting political leaders from Indian-controlled Kashmir ahead of the talks.

Answering a question about a dossier on alleged Indian involvement in abetting terrorism in Pakistan, which was submitted to the UN, Khalilullah said Islamabad would continue to inform the world body about its concerns in future as well.

To a question about violence in India over cow-slaughter, the spokesman said a country which claims to be a secular state should guarantee the basic rights of minorities.

Attacks on Muslims on the issue of cow slaughtering are beyond comprehension and a cause of concern for the Muslim Ummah, he said.

The spokesman said Pakistan seeks civil nuclear cooperation with the US like it has with India and also from the international community.

There should be non-discriminatory approach on nuclear issues including access to peaceful use of nuclear energy, he said.

The spokesman strongly rejected allegations that Pakistani agencies or forces are involved in attacks in Afghanistan.

"We condemn the occupation of Afghan territory by any group," he said.

Khalilullah said Islamabad has been helping Kabul in countering terrorism and in the area of development.

"We are in touch with the Afghan authorities to restore trust levels between the two countries."

The spokesman said Pakistan has supported the intra-Afghan dialogue process and also hosted a first round in July last between the Afghan Taliban and government.

If the two sides agreed to resume the process, Pakistan remains ready to facilitate them, he said.

Stressing that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, the spokesman said, "We will not tolerate presence of Daesh [self-styled Isil extremist group] or any of its associate on our land."

To a question about the Russian air strikes in Syria, the spokesperson said Pakistan has a principled position on the issue based on neutrality, impartiality, and respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria.

Voicing concerns over the violence in Syria, he said the government and the opposition groups should settle issues peacefully.

Pakistan, he said, stands for peaceful solution of the issue through dialogue led by the Syrian people.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 9, 2015
Words:567
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