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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pakistani Envoy Talks to Indian Premier




KARGIL, India -- India's prime minister met with a special envoy from Pakistan on Monday in an apparent bid to find a diplomatic solution to fighting in the disputed territory of Kashmir.


Former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik came to New Delhi on Sunday on a special mission from his prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to follow up on telephone conversations between the two leaders, the Indian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


The international community has urged both sides to find a way to stop the fighting near the cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.


Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has publicly refused to hold talks with Islamabad before the complete withdrawal of fighters India says crossed from Pakistan into India.


The Foreign Ministry statement said that in the exchanges, Vajpayee stressed again "Pakistan must withdraw its forces and extremist elements from our side of the Line of Control," referring to the 1972 cease-fire line that divides Kashmir.


India says the intruding fighters are led by Pakistani army troops. Islamabad has denied it, but the Pakistan army chief acknowledged during the weekend that his troops are fighting.


Vajpayee, who heads a caretaker government, told a meeting of his political coalition Monday, "We are clear there will be no further dialogue [with Pakistan] so long as the incursions continue. We are making no secret deals and no further proposals or mediation by third countries will be accepted."


Army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh told reporters in New Delhi that there is no evidence of a "coordinated withdrawal," and the Pakistani resistance to Indian forces continued.


Earlier Monday, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry and Indian officials denied knowledge of Naik's visit. He has been a frequent visitor to India as a member of a private group of academics and retired bureaucrats who meet periodically as an informal research organization.


U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gibson Lanpher met Indian officials in New Delhi on Sunday after a visit to Islamabad, where he accompanied U.S. Marine General Anthony Zinni. Lanpher denied reports he had carried a proposal from Islamabad to allow an "exit corridor" to the guerrillas if they retreated.


The Washington Post reported Sunday that the United States, which publicly has urged Pakistan to withdraw the fighters from Indian-controlled territory, may try to block a $100 million International Monetary Fund loan to Pakistan next month.


The Kashmir conflict is expected to dominate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's five-day visit to China. Sharif is expected to seek China's support for Pakistan in the conflict. So far China's stand has been neutral, urging both sides to open fresh talks.


The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Monday one of its diplomats in India has disappeared. Dil Fayyaz, described as a "staff member" of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, disappeared Sunday, the statement said. There have been cases in the past of embassy employees being detained by police in the Indian and Pakistani capitals and later expelled on spy charges.