The moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, today rejected the Centre's assertion that India and Pakistan were the only two parties to the Kashmir issue, saying people of the state were the basic party to the problem.
"We reject the statement of the External Affairs Ministry spokesman that Kashmir issue has only two parties," a Hurriyat spokesman said in a statement here.
The people of Kashmir were the basic party to the issue, he said.
No lasting solution to the issue could be found without taking "wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir on board", the spokesman said.
"He (MEA spokesman) should know that bilateral dialogue has not yielded a solution to Kashmir issue in the past," he said.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said "after 1972 and the signing of the Simla Agreement by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, there are only two stakeholders on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir – the Union of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
"This is a principle which is the bedrock of our bilateral relations. This was reaffirmed in the Lahore Declaration of 1999 between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Vajpayee".
India had called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries slated for August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between an Indo-Pak dialogue or hobnobbing with the separatists.