Pakistan today said it is committed to the bilateral process with India to address the Kashmir issue but would "always" be open to third party mediation. "Pakistan has been committed to the bilateral process with India to address this (Kashmir) matter as part of the composite dialogue process," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said.
Pakistan hopes that India will "engage with us in a meaningful dialogue to resolve" the issue, he said. Chaudhry, who was addressing the weekly news briefing, added: "However, at the same time Pakistan has always been open to third party mediation. We believe that it is an option that has always been available".
He was replying to a question on whether Pakistan believes the bilateral process is no longer feasible to resolve the Kashmir dispute, often described by Islamabad as the "core issue" between the two countries. Chaudhry's remarks came against the backdrop of both India and the US rejecting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's call for mediation by the American administration. The US said there had not been an "iota of change" in its policy on Kashmir, which was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
Chaudhry said Sartaj Aziz, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, will travel to India in November to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting of foreign ministers. Official sources said the two sides are working on a possible meeting between Aziz and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
Asked about the delay in the meeting between Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries to address ceasefire violations along the Line of Control, as was decided by the Prime Ministers in New York, Chaudhry said Pakistan was fully committed to implementing this decision. "They (DGMOs) are already in touch through their hotline. I understand they discussed the matter on October 25 and 29 and concurred to normalise the situation on the LoC and working boundary," he said. "A flag meeting was held between Pakistan Rangers and BSF on October 29 and both sides agreed to observe ceasefire and resolve issues through flag meetings."