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Friday, 21 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 21 Nov 2014















http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141121/main5.htm
Will consult Kashmiri separatists before talks with India: Sharif
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has blamed India for adopting inflexible approach towards the Kashmir issue. Ignoring India's opposition, Sharif today said Pakistan would hold dialogue with Kashmiri separatists to take them into confidence before engaging in peace talks with India.

Speaking at a meeting of Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Thursday, Sharif said he would consult Hurriyat leaders prior to entering negotiations with India.

"It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with India but it cancelled the scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries," he said.

New Delhi called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held on August 25 after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri separatists.

Sharif's comments came ahead of the SAARC summit next week in Nepal which will be attended by him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In September, Sharif raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly session invoking indirect response from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The Indian External Affairs Minister gave a more pointed reply reiterating Indian position that "Kashmir is an integral part of India". Calling for a peaceful resolution of the dispute in the Muzaffarabad meeting, Sharif said all issues should be resolved through negotiations and without the use of force.

"Many civilians and security personnel were injured during the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. We don't want to use power," said Sharif.

He also expressed concern over the silence of the UN and international community on the issue and urged them to take initiative for the resolution of the dispute according to UN Security Council's resolutions and the aspiration of Kashmiri people. "Pakistan has always kept Kashmir issue at the forefront in all world peace forums," Sharif said.

Shunning India's accusations related to Pakistan harbouring militants, Sharif said: "Pakistan is not providing sanctuaries to anti-India elements. India has propaganda against us that we are harbouring terrorists in order to cover up their wrongdoings in Kashmir," he said. Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and is doing everything to eliminate it, he said. (With agency inputs)



http://www.dawn.com/news/1145698/army-chief-raises-issue-of-border-violations-by-india
Army chief raises issue of border violations by India
WASHINGTON: The focus of debate shifted on Wednesday from Afghanistan to India-Pakistan relations as Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif had his first encounter with US lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

In official statements, both US and Pakistani sides continued to focus on Afghanistan and the operation against militants in Fata, but the debate in Washington’s diplomatic circles shifted dramatically following reports that Pakistan was also urging the United States to use its influence to reduce tensions on the Indian border.

BBC reported earlier Wednesday that Gen Sharif had highlighted current developments in India-Pakistan relations in a series of meetings with senior US officials.

According to the report, he told the Americans that continuous violation of ceasefire at the Line of Control and the working boundary had also affected Pakistan’s operation against terrorists in Fata.

He spent his first day in Washington at the Pentagon, meeting senior defence officials and generals and also received the US Legion of Merit medal in recognition of “his brave leadership, sagacity, vision and efforts for peace and stability in the region”.

On Wednesday, he met members of the two senate committees — on intelligence and foreign relations — on Capitol Hill.

The BBC report highlighted an issue — situation on the LoC and the working border — that was already mentioned by Pakistani and US officials in earlier statements.

Chief spokesman for the Pakistani military, Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, tweeted from Tampa earlier this week that “Indian aggression along the line of control (was) also discussed” in meetings with Centcom officials.

In another tweet, he said that Gen Sharif gave “Pakistan’s perspective on regional security (and on) improving Pak-Afghan military relation”.

In his third tweet, Maj Gen Bajwa said that Gen. Sharif focused on “regional security and stability”.

In a statement on Gen Sharif’s meetings at the US Department of Defence, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm John Kirby said: “The leaders discussed regional security issues and their commitment to an enduring partnership.”

In their official statements, the United States and Pakistan often used the term “regional security” while referring to troubles on the India-Pakistan border.

“They also emphasised the importance of sustained and substantive dialogue as we continue to develop the bilateral military-to-military relationship,” Mr Kirby said.

The official who spoke to BBC, and was not identified in the report, however, gave more details about how the Pakistani delegation highlighted border tensions in their meetings with US defence officials.

Gen Sharif, according to him, said that heavy firing by Indian troops along the border and statements issued by Indians leaders were affecting Pakistan’s campaign in fighting against extremism.

Gen Sharif also told US officials that Pakistan had deployed 140,000 troops on its western borders after getting assurance that there would be peace with India on its eastern borders which did not happen.


http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp?xfile=data/international/2014/November/international_November438.xml&section=international
LoC tension hit anti-rebel operation, says Pak army chief
Gen. Raheel told US officials that Pakistan has deployed 140,000 troops on its Western borders after getting assurance that there would be peace with India on its Eastern borders.

Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif has claimed that Pakistan’s operation against terrorists in the country’s tribal region was affected by Indian troops’ continuous violation of ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary WB.

An official in Washington told BBC Urdu  that during his first visit to the US, the army chief had said that heavy firing by Indian troops along the border and statements issued by their leaders were affecting Pakistan’s campaign in fighting against extremism.

Gen. Raheel told US officials that Pakistan has deployed 140,000 troops on its Western borders after getting assurance that there would be peace with India on its Eastern borders which did not happen.

However, there was no word on Gen Raheel’s statement by the US but experts often say that the US now avoids interfering in India-Pakistan matters.

Frequency of ceasefire violation along the LoC and working boundary has increased during the past several weeks. Pakistan has also established diplomatic channels to communicate with India over the issue. More than 19 people have lost their lives on both sides as a result of the cross-border conflict.

Gen. Raheel on Wednesday met US congressmen where he briefed them on the ongoing operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan. Issues related to US-Pakistan long-term strategic partnership post-withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan were also discussed during the meeting.

Gen. Raheel, whose delegation was greeted with a full honour guard at the US defence headquarters, discussed security matters with Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert O. Work and chairman of Joint Chiefs Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, according to a US Defence Department statement. He also met chief of the US Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford.

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