Sri Lanka desists from speaking on Kashmir, Pak envoy apprises Sirisena

Sri Lanka has offered to mediate and facilitate dialogue between Pakistan and India to re-activate the SAARC forum

Sri Lanka has offered to mediate and facilitate dialogue between Pakistan and India to re-activate the SAARC forum

The meeting arranged on Tuesday was at the request of the Pakistan High Commissioner about the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), following Indian government's decision to abrogate article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories - J&K and Ladakh.

A press statement issued on Wednesday, by the Colombo-based Pakistani High Commission said the Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena had expressed in a meeting with High Commissioner Shahid Ahmad Hashmat that the dispute around Kashmir should be "resolved according to wishes of Kashmiris under UN Resolutions".

He has also apprised the President of the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under total lockdown and curfew since 5th August 2019.

Issuing a statement, the President's Media Division said its attention has been drawn to a media release issued by the Pakistan High Commission on the High Commissioner's meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena on August 20, 2019.

The statement released by the media wing of the president's office in Sri Lanka clarified "The president gave a patient hearing to the Pakistan High Commissioner's views and stated that both India and Pakistan have excellent friendly relations with Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka's interest is to see the growth of regional cooperation and friendship". "He further said that resolution of Kashmir issue is essential for permanent peace and stability in the region".

Presidential sources told The Hindu that the Indian High Commissioner too had called on Mr. Sirisena some days ago, to brief him on the development.

Maithripala Sirisena on Friday distanced himself from Islamabad's claims that Sri Lanka offered mediation and facilitation of dialogue between Pakistan and India to re-activate the SAARC forum. Dawn.com has reached out to the Foreign Office for a comment.

India, time and again, has also stated that Jammu and Kashmir is "entirely an internal matter" of the country and all steps were taken keeping in mind the bright future of people of the region.

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