Abrar Saeed and SHAFQAT ALI
ISLAMABAD - The civil and military leadership has ruled out any talks with India without Kashmir on the agenda and decided to fully help Afghan government in checking movement of militants across the border.
At a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, focusing national security it was also agreed to gear up the ongoing operation against militants in the country.
Ahead of the security meeting, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif also held a one-on-one meeting with the premier and briefed him on his recent visit to Germany, where he spoke on regional security with specific reference to Afghanistan, and his meetings with officials in the United Kingdom.
Sources said that at both the meetings the two leaders were unanimous that no dialogue should be held with India unless Kashmir issue is part of the agenda.
A foreign ministry official said Pakistan’s civil and military leadership was not ready to hold talks without Kashmir being on the table. “India wants to exclude Kashmir from the agenda to make Kashmir irrelevant. We can’t betray Kashmiris. No talks with India can be complete without Kashmir ,” he said.
The decision comes after India said it was ready to hold talks with Pakistan but only on the terms that were agreed between prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi in Ufa city of Russia.
Other prominent figures at yesterday’s security meeting were Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mehmood, Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Zubair Mehmood Hayat, ISI DG Lt-Gen Rizwan Akhtar, ISPR DG Lt-General Asim Saleem Bajwa; federal ministers Ishaq Dar (Finance) and Ch Nisar Ali (Interior); Adviser to PM on National Security Sartaj Aziz; Special Assistant to PM Tariq Fatemi; and Foreign Office Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
Sources informed The Nation that there was a general consensus among the participants to gear up the operation against the militants, their finances and facilitators across the country. The progress made so far in the Zarb-i-Azb operation and its impact on the overall security situation of the country also came under discussion.
In their in one on one meeting, both prime minister and army chief were unanimous that the country should extend full support to Afghan government in containing the movement of militants across the porous border as militancy is the common problem facing both the neighbours and the regional peace hinges on cooperation and coordination between Islamabad and Kabul. The recent rise in Taliban attacks in the neighbouring country was also discussed.
The army chief also apprised the prime minister about the discussions at the Corps Commanders conference held in Rawalpindi on Thursday. Sources said General Raheel Sharif informed the premier about the key points discussed and agreed upon during the conference to enhance Pakistan's security.
The larger security moot discussed PM Nawaz Sharif's upcoming visit to Washington where he will hold meetings with President Barack Obama and other top US officials.
These meetings come just a day after the premier decided to take up the matter of Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and working boundary with US leadership during his trip to Washington scheduled for later this month.
Senior analyst Dr Mohammed Khan said Indian ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary were destroying the relations between the two countries.” He said the prime minister should discuss these important issues to draw the attention of world community towards India’s hostile attitude towards Pakistan.
“There are also many other issues which should be taken up such as support of nationalists in Balochistan, financial patronage of terrorists and subversive activities in Pakistan. India is also using Afghan soil against Pakistan and providing funds to terrorists,” he added.
Former ambassador Mushtaq Ahmed Mehr said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should point out the latest developments and India’s negativity towards dialogue.
He said the premier should take up the issue of continuous violations of ceasefire by Indian forces and also brief Obama about unprovoked firing of Indian Army on Line of Control and Working Boundary.