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Pak wants Kashmir statehood restored before movement forward with India: report

Pakistan has told India that Islamabad would sit on the talks table only when the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir is restored, The Indian Express, quoting unnamed people familiar with the development, reported on Friday.

Pakistan has conveyed to India that truce along the Line of Control “can lead to a wider engagement only if and when Delhi restores statehood to Jammu & Kashmir as a starting point for a discussion on the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” the newspaper reported.

After the militaries of the two South Asian nuclear-armed nations issued a joint statement, Islamabad has consistently maintained that the Kashmir dispute must be resolved under the United Nations resolutions. The Delhi-based newspaper said “authoritative sources in Pakistan who did not wish to be identified” said The joint statement issued by the Directors General of Military Operations does not reflect any change in the Pakistani position that Kashmir is a “dispute”.

Moreover, they added, the statement in no way implies the acceptance of the Indian “narrative” of a “deal” on Kashmir. These sources indicated that for any wider engagement, India must create an “enabling environment” by restoring statehood to J&K, the report said.

This, they said, would then facilitate “a conversation” that would include “Kashmiri voices front and center” on the way forward and open up space potentially for discussions on other bilateral issues.

These sources rejected the “narrative” in India that the DGMO agreement was a sign of Pakistan’s “desperation” and “weakness”, or the notion that it could be used by India to signal to the world that “Pakistan and India are talking and everything is fine, or to tell people in (Kashmir) that there is some underhand deal and that Kashmir is done and dusted”.

India’s Narendra Modi government has given repeated assurance to its Parliament that the statehood of the disputed Himalayan region would be given at “an appropriate time”.

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