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Do not accept India’s preconditions: Pakistan as they call off NSA talks

Islamabad: Without saying so in as many words, Pakistan on Saturday decided to call off the NSA talks with India, saying it has “come to the conclusion that the NSA talks would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions” laid down by India.

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Ending uncertainty over the talks, scheduled to be held between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan — Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz — on August 23-24, the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement that talks held on the two conditions laid down by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would not serve any purpose.

It accused the Indian minister of “restricting the agenda” of the talks to only two items: creating an atmosphere free from terrorism and tranquillity on the Line of Control.

It said terrorism was always simultaneously discussed with other issues according to their composite dialogue.

“It is not reasonable for India to now assume the right to decide unilaterally that from now onwards, other issues will be discussed after terrorism has been discussed and eliminated.”

Sushma Swaraj had said Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz was welcome to come for the August 23-24 parley, but he has to stick to the Ufa agenda to discuss only terrorism and the Kashmiri separatists have no place in the dialogue.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said if the only purpose of the NSA talks was to discuss terrorism, “then instead of improving the prospects of peace it will only intensify the blame game and further vitiate the atmosphere”.

It said it had proposed besides discussing terrorism, the modalities and possible time schedule for other outstanding issues like Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, should also be discussed “in keeping with the Ufa statement”.