Ahead of the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level engagement between India and Pakistan on Kashmir-related issues besides peace and security, the Foreign Office on Wednesday held consultations with Kashmiri leaders here.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, of Secretary Salman Bashir's meetings with Kashmiri leaders, everyone present there agreed that Jammu & Kashmir is the core issue and it was imperative to address this effectively and in a purposeful manner in the forthcoming dialogue with India.

Though this has been Pakistan's stated position, its reiteration at this juncture is being seen by some quarters as a response to “India's renewed focus” on terrorism over the past couple of weeks as a result of the trial of Chicago businessman Tahawwur Rana, accused of helping David Coleman Headley in planning the Mumbai terror attack of 2008.

Also, the engagements on Siachen and Sir Creek did not make any headway. In fact, both Pakistani and Indian officials have been quoted as stating that the Sir Creek discussion last month had set the clock back as Islamabad was of the view that the joint survey conducted in January 2007 should not be considered the basis for an agreement.

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