Sartaj doubtful about Nawaz-Singh moot

Islamabad again calls for dialogue

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister's Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that Pakistan was in the weaker position against India as compared to situation in 1999.
In a TV interview he said that Pakistan had held talks with India on the basis of equality in 1999 but unfortunately this was not the case today. Aziz said that he was not optimistic about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's proposed meeting with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in New York.
The adviser said that the Indian government was under opposition's pressure and meaningful dialogue process with New Delhi would begin in 2014 after elections in India. To a question, he said that Kargil war undermined Kashmir issue.
On the other hand, Indian PM Manmohan Singh and PM Nawaz exchanged I-Day greetings and reaffirmed committment to peace and friendship.
Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi Salman Bashir rejected allegations of Pakistan's involvement in the killing of five Indian soldiers at the Line of Control.
Speaking to media before a ceremony in connection with the Pakistan's Independence Day, he said that the Pakistan Army was not involved in firing at the LoC.
He said that Pakistan wanted to normalize the tense situation at the LoC and was ready to take effective measures for peace.
Bashir was of the view that tension between both the countries could only be reduced through dialogue. He said that Pakistan was waiting for Indian measures to normalize the situation.
Separately, India said that "patience has limits" and all "necessary steps" will be taken to ensure internal security and protect territorial integrity.
Without mentioning Pakistan by name, President Pranab Mukherjee said despite India's consistent efforts to build friendly relations with neighbours, there have been tensions on the border and repeated violations of the ceasefire on the Line of Control, leading to tragic loss of lives.
"Our commitment to peace is unfailing but even our patience has limits. All steps necessary to ensure internal security and protect the territorial integrity of the nation will be taken," he said addressing the nation on the eve of 67th Independence Day.
He applauded the courage and heroism of the security and armed forces who maintain eternal vigilance and paid homage to those who have made the supreme sacrifice of the most precious gift of life in the service of the motherland.
Mukherjee said in the recent past there have been grave challenges to the security, internal as well as external.
"The barbaric face of Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh led to a loss of many innocent lives," he said.
Also on Wednesday, stressing that India had no intention to hurt its ties with Pakistan, Indian External Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid reiterated that dialogue was the only way to iron out all sorts of differences, according to a media report.
“Negotiation was the way to go to achieve an amicable solution no matter how tense the situation maybe. Thus talks between both the neighbours must go on”, said he while answering the questions of a hawkish Indian TV channel anchor. Khurshid made it clear that Indo-Pakistan relations were critical to many regions. To a question he said India had not put the matter of Mumbai attacks on the back burner.
He demanded the Pakistani government to come clean about it. “Pakistan owes us some answers with regard to 26/11 attacks. Our reservations must be taken seriously and addressed”, he said.

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