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Updated: February 13, 2010 18:15 IST

Pak free to raise any issue on Feb 25: Islamabad

PTI
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ROUGH BORDER: Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers keep vigil at the western sector of India-Pakistan international border. Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan wil meet on February 25. File photo
AP ROUGH BORDER: Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers keep vigil at the western sector of India-Pakistan international border. Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan wil meet on February 25. File photo

Pakistan has said it is “free to raise any issue”, including Kashmir, differences over sharing of river waters and India’s alleged interference in Balochistan, during the Foreign Secretary-level talks in New Delhi on February 25.

India has not imposed any pre-condition for resuming dialogue, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told the state-run PTV.

He said Pakistan is “free to raise any issue,” including Kashmir, differences over sharing river waters and India’s alleged interference in Balochistan and Afghanistan.

On the Kashmir problem, Mr. Basit claimed that “Indian insincerity” was the sole reason for the failure to resolve the “core” issue.

He claimed that India has taken no step to resolve this issue and it would have been settled by now if the composite dialogue, stalled since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had continued.

Kashmiris, he said, must be granted the “right to self-determination” so that they can lead a prosperous and peaceful life.

Pakistan also has serious concerns on Indian activities in Afghanistan, he said, adding, India has reportedly invested over a billion dollars for building a dam on the Kabul river for apparently impeding water flow to the Indus river.

Mr. Basit said Islamabad is striving to ensure that the next round of the composite dialogue with New Delhi would be irreversible as abrupt severing of negotiations only benefits forces inimical to both countries.

A long-term, sustained and meaningful composite dialogue process with India is the need of the hour as it is the only way to eliminate poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in South Asia, Mr. Basit said.

The spokesman’s comments came after the Pakistan government accepted India’s offer for Foreign Secretary-level talks and decided to send Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir to New Delhi for the parleys with his counterpart Nirupama Rao on February 25.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s House said Pakistan would raise all “core issues” during the talks and “impress upon India the need for their expeditious resolution through resumption of the composite dialogue”.

Pakistan has also made it clear the upcoming engagement should lead to the full-fledged resumption of the composite dialogue.

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