New Delhi: Hours after the United Nations chief appealed to India and Pakistan to hold a dialogue and resolve the Kashmir issue, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday rejected the idea of holding bilateral talks and said that a third party reconciliation was “the only option”.

“Bilateral talks between India and Pakistan not possible. Third-party reconciliation is the only option between the two countries,” Qureshi asserted.

The Pakistan Foreign Minister’s statement comes as another setback to the Kashmir conflict, which has been a boiling situation since the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan has already sought the UN’s intervention twice in the issue but has failed to convince the world body. Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres refused to intervene in the Kashmir issue stating concerns of a “potential escalation between India and Pakistan over the situation” and urged both sides to deal with the issue through dialogue.

The UN chief’s statement came after India at the ongoing 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva defended its “sovereign decision” to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan had opinionated that the decision was an illegal act that demands an international investigation.

The UN chief’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “Our position on mediation has, as a matter of principle, has always remained the same.”

Qureshi statement is in stark contrast to his previous comment in which he said that Pakistan was never opposed to the idea of bilateral dialogue with India. Guterres even met with the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN Maleeha Lodhi on her request over the Kashmir issue.

India and Pakistan have been under a war-like situation since August that escalated after the latter expelled the Indian high commissioner. Pakistan Prime Minister had gone to the extent of declaring a full-blown ‘nuclear’ confrontation between the two neighbours.