ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan Tuesday rejected India’s decision to designate Dineshwar Sharma, a former Indian intelligence officer, as the Central Representative to initiate “interaction and dialogue to understand legitimate aspirations of the people’ in held Kashmir.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria here said that the measure did not appear to be ‘sincere and realistic.’

Pak-India relations have been far from normal in the recent months. In July 2016 a Kashmiri freedom fighter – Burhan Wani - was killed by the Indian forces. This was followed by protests in held Kashmir and use of power by India to crush the demonstrators – dozens were killed.

In September last year, 19 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack in Uri, held Kashmir. India blamed Pakistan for supporting the strikers. Pakistan rejected the claims. Afterwards, there were skirmishes on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary as India showed aggression. The tension is yet to cool down.

Since partition of British India in 1947, Pakistan and India have been involved in four wars - including one undeclared war. All of them except the 1971 war were fought on Kashmir.

Nafees Zakaria said if anything, the Indian government’s announcement illustrated a recognition - once again - of the futility of the use of force and of the indispensability of dialogue.

However, for any dialogue process to be meaningful and result-oriented, it has to include the three main parties - India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris, he added.

In that context without the participation of the Hurriyat leadership, no interaction or dialogue would carry any weight or meaning, the spokesperson said.

Zakaria said the designated interlocutor had been entrusted with the task of understanding the “legitimate aspirations” of the Kashmiri people - which in reality had been known for 70 years – the realisation of their right to self-determination.

The spokesperson emphasised that the need of the hour was to bring an end to the Indian state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and to have dialogue for peacefully resolving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

This, he said, was imperative for ensuring durable and sustainable peace and stability in South Asia. Zakaria said Pakistan hoped the international community would play its rightful role in facilitating such an outcome.