J&K talks reminder to India

New Delhi: Shehbaz Sharif, the president of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), has called for comprehensive peace talks in South Asia in the wake of the historic meeting in Singapore on Tuesday between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un.

"Singapore Summit between USA & North Korea should set a good precedent for Pakistan & India to follow. Ever since the start of Korean War, the two nations have been at odds with one another; both threatening to use military force with their nuclear arsenals facing each other," Sharif tweeted hours after the Trump-Kim joint statement for denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

But in calling for the two countries to move away from their stated positions, Sharif - brother of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a former chief minister of the Punjab province - reiterated Islamabad's stand on Kashmir.

"If the United States and North Korea can return from the brink of a nuclear flashpoint, there is no reason why Pakistan and India cannot do the same, beginning with a dialogue on Kashmir whose heroic people have resisted and rejected Indian occupation," he said.

Sharif called for comprehensive peace talks, including resumption of dialogue between the two countries on Kashmir "so the long-festering Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with UN resolutions".

Many jihadi organisations - including the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad - that have been targeting India on Kashmir are headquartered in the Pakistani province of Punjab and have in the past helped the PML (N) electorally.

Sharif's tweets did not cause any ripples in Pakistan, which is currently in election mode. In any case, he essentially piggybacked the Singapore summit to push the establishment line.

Pakistan has, in recent months, indicated a desire for resumption of the dialogue process but external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had categorically said two weeks ago that "talks and terror cannot go together".

New Delhi did not react to Sharif's tweets and it was business as usual in bilateral relations with the Pakistan foreign office summoning India's acting deputy high commissioner on Wednesday to protest a "ceasefire violation" by India in the Chirikot sector, which resulted in the death of a civilian on Tuesday.

The Pakistan foreign office, in a statement, said Indian forces had carried out more than 1,100 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the death of 29 civilians and injuries to 117 people this year.

Last year, according to Pakistan, Indian forces had committed 1,970 ceasefire violations.


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