Nawaz Sharif Describes Kashmir As 'flashpoint' Between India-Pakistan; Seeks Third Party Mediation

23 October 2015

Washington DC: Describing Kashmir as 'a flashpoint' between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said there is a need for a third party meditation to resolve the issue and end stalemate in the Indo-Pak dialogue process. '(Currently) there are no bilateral talks (between India and Pakistan) on resolving the Kashmir issue. In that scenario there should be a third party meditation on this. If India does not accept a third party role, if there is no bilateral talks then there is a stalemate,' Sharif told reporters after his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Thursday. 'This stalemate needs to be addressed,' the Prime Minister said in response to a question. Speaking in Urdu, Sharif said he raised the Kashmir issue in all his meetings with the US leadership including Obama. 'It (Kashmir) also figured in the joint statement,' Sharif said adding all of them recognised that Kashmir is a 'flashpoint' and it needs to be resolved. Sharif said he briefed Obama on his Kashmir peace initiative. 'Unfortunately, Pakistan has not received adequate response from India on its peace initiative,' he said, adding that Obama during the meeting agreed that Kashmir issue needs to be resolved. India has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in the Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally. In response to a question on the Indo-Pak relationship, he recalled his visit to New Delhi to attend the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the meeting, he said, he offered Modi to revive the peace process from where he and former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee left in Lahore in 1999. Sharif said he urged Modi that the two leaders should talk and resolve the issues between the two countries. 'He agreed for talks and then suddenly unilaterally cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks,' the Pakistan Prime Minister said. 'Had he (Modi) talked to me. Things could have been different. But he took such a decision without consulting me,' Sharif rued. Sharif said a set of three dossiers on alleged Indian activities in parts of Pakistan were handed over to the Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday. He said that firing on the Line of Control (LoC) was discussed during his talks with US leaders, alleging that ceasefire has been 'brutally violated' not only on the LoC, but also on the actual boundary. The Prime Minister argued for setting up a mechanism to determine who first violated the ceasefire. Those who violates the ceasefire should be held responsible, he said. Pakistan, Sharif said, wants to improve relationship with its neighbours. Responding to a question, Sharif said his government is committed to take action against terrorist. 'It's our national responsibility to take action against all elements of terrorism. This is part of our National Action Plan,' he added. 'We know what is in our national interest,' he said when asked if he would fulfil his commitment to take action against LeT.