ISLAMABAD - Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has asserted that peace in the region would remain elusive without solution to the Kashmir problem in accordance with the UN resolutions.

Aizaz was briefing Islamabad-based ambassadors of OIC countries on the status of the issue and plight of the people in Indian-held Kashmir, on Wednesday in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day to be observed today (Thursday).

The secretary said the Day is commemorated by the government and people of Pakistan at home and abroad to reiterate their political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris.

He paid tributes to the huge sacrifices made by the Kashmiri Muslims in their struggle in the face of Indian atrocities.

He highlighted the brutalities committed by the Indian security forces to suppress the indigenous Kashmiri movement against the Indian rule and quoted the staggering figures of Kashmiris killed, women widowed/dishonoured and children orphaned in gross human rights violations in the occupied valley.

Stating that no elections in IOK could be a substitute for a plebiscite under the auspices of the UN, he expressed deep concern over the policies of the present Hindu nationalist BJP government aimed at changing the demographic makeup of Jammu and Kashmir by settling non-state subjects in IOK, turning Muslim majority there into a minority and dividing the population on ethnic, religious and communal lines.

Briefing the envoys on the recent visit of the OIC secretary general to Pakistan, the secretary deeply appreciated his consistent support to the Kashmir cause.

Highlighting the efforts of OIC, he noted with satisfaction that the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, consisting of Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, meets regularly and adopts resolutions, affirming OIC’s continued support to the Kashmiris.

He noted with appreciation the secretary general’s emphasis on early peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The ambassadors were told that Kashmiris had welcomed the recent mandate given to OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) to monitor human rights violations in IOK.

The secretary said OIC, as a body of 57 countries with the world’s 1/5th population and many trillion dollars GDP, could influence India to fulfil its obligations under the UN resolutions, demilitarise IOK and refrain from blatant human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the National Assembly Wednesday that India was responsible for suspending bilateral talks, making it clear that any resumption of dialogue with New Delhi minus Kashmir would not be acceptable to Pakistan.

Replying to a question from a lawmaker during the question-hour session, Aziz blamed Delhi for unilaterally suspending bilateral engagement in 2013 in the wake of tensions on LoC and Working Boundary.

The adviser regretted though the prime ministers of both the countries, during their meeting on May 27 last year, had agreed on resumption of secretary-level talks, India cancelled the move.

“India cancelled the scheduled meeting of the foreign secretaries last year on the flimsy excuse that Pakistan’s high commissioner met with Kashmiri leaders in Delhi. Pakistan termed it a setback,” Aziz told the house.

Pakistan, he said, remained committed to a sustained, meaningful and result-oriented dialogue with India. “Since India abruptly cancelled the secretaries’ meeting, the initiative for resumption of the dialogue lies with India,” he observed.

The adviser added Pakistan would not hold with India any dialogue minus Kashmir. He recalled Pakistan had impressed upon the Indian leadership that the dialogue process as and when resumed would be based on sovereign equality, mutual respect and commonality of interests. But Aziz sounded pessimistic, saying the negative propaganda about the Line of Control was an indication of Indian intransigence and reluctance to resume the stalled dialogue.

The adviser added Pakistan was working with other countries to press India for talks as uninterrupted dialogue was necessary for regional peace, stability and development.

About relations with Afghanistan, Aziz said the relations were on upward trajectory as it was high priority of Pakistan to build close and cooperative relations with Afghanistan as a vital component of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision of ‘peaceful neighbourhood’.

On the economic front, he said decisions had been taken to increase bilateral trade with Kabul, adding resolving transit trade issue, promotion of investment and joint production in designated free economic zones was also in the offing.

He said Pakistan remained committed to training and capacity building of Afghan security forces in coming years, adding Islamabad had pledged $20 million for Afghan national security forces at Nato’s Chicago Summit in 2012.

In a written reply to the house, Aziz said Pakistan was hosting about three million Afghan refugees, adding the cabinet had approved a new policy of extending the stay of registered refugees till December 31, 2015.

He said the new Kabul government had shown willingness to bring back Afghan refugees to the native country as part of voluntary repatriation programme. He said despite the financial crunch, Pakistan was pumping $500 million into Afghanistan as part of bilateral assistance to develop infrastructure, education, health and capacity building projects in Afghanistan.