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Pakistan 'regrets India's rejection of proposal' to hold bilateral talks on Kashmir issue

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 26 August 2016, 18:02 IST

Pakistan said it regretted India's decision to reject the former's invitation to hold exclusive talks on the Kashmir issue.

On 19 August, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry had invited his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar to visit Islamabad for bi-lateral talks focusing on Kashmir Valley.

Two days later, India responded to Islamabad's proposal, expressing willingness for talks if the agenda was 'cross-border terrorism' in Indian Kashmir.

Jaishankar added that India was also ready to talk about Pakistan vacating its "illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir", referring to PoK - the regions Pakistan calls 'Azad Jammu and Kashmir' and the 'Northern Areas' of Gilgit-Baltistan.

"The letters tell Pakistan that if you want a serious conversation of the kind we'd hoped we were beginning when Pathankot happened, we're open to that," a senior official involved in drafting the documents was quoted by The Financial Express. "However, if you want to reduce our engagement to scoring propaganda points at home, fine, we can play that game too."

Since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Kashmir has been witnessing constant unrest. The death toll has climbed to 66 and thousands of people remain injured, out of which at least 500 are suffering due to pellet guns.

Relations between India and Pakistan have worsened since the death of Wani, especially after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called him a 'martyr' and sent off letters to various international fora inviting them to take notice of human rights violations in Kashmir.

First published: 26 August 2016, 18:02 IST