Pak Envoy Says Talks Suspended But His Govt Contradicts His Stand

Confusion followed as Pak envoy said Indo-Pak peace talks suspended. This was contradicted by Pak Foreign Ministry

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Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India speaking on Thursday, 7 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)

The peace process between India and Pakistan is currently suspended, Abdul Basit Pakistan High Commissioner to India, said on Thursday. However, he was contradicted later by his own Foreign Ministry.

I think at present the peace process between Indian and Pakistan is suspended. As far as I know, there is no meeting scheduled between the two foreign secretaries. 
Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India

Later, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement taking a different view,

Your question implies whether the Foreign Secretary-level talks will take place or not. I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out. I will again state that negotiations are the best means to resolve the issues.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria added, “I have read the statement of the Indian Foreign Secretary you are referring to and in that also there was an indication that the talks would take place.”

Interestingly, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry’s statement came after India’s MEA had countered Basit’s claim, as reported by The Times of India.

File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar at the Parliament House. (Photo: PTI)
File photo of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar at the Parliament House. (Photo: PTI)

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry was referring to the following statement made by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, where he indicated that the relationship between the two countries was increasingly strained.

Until we are able to address the issue (terrorism) effectively, obviously it is hard for us to say that the relationship is normal. Because this is what puts Pakistan in a different category than our other neighbours. 
S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary on Wednesday

About Kulbhushan Jadhav

Speaking about the alleged Indian spy captured in Balochistan, Basit said that India’s request for consular access to him is still being considered.

Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India speaking at the Foreign Correspondent Club on Thursday, 7 April 2016. (Photo: IANS)
Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India speaking at the Foreign Correspondent Club on Thursday, 7 April 2016. (Photo: IANS)

His presence, he said, proves that there are efforts being made to spread unrest in Pakistan.

The recent arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along. We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilise the country.


A TV grab of Kulbhushan Jadhav, whom Pakistan has arrested for his alleged links with India’s foreign espionage agency RAW. (Photo: PTI)
A TV grab of Kulbhushan Jadhav, whom Pakistan has arrested for his alleged links with India’s foreign espionage agency RAW. (Photo: PTI)

In the same context, he pointed out that the anti-terrorism operation in Pakistan is also “yielding good results”.

Reciprocity

While questioned about the Pathankot investigation by Pakistan, Basit’s answer was termed as a “u-turn” by various media channels.

Personally feel that this whole investigation isn’t about reciprocity, but about extending co-operation to get to the bottom of this. Therefore, a fair and just resolution is a must and attempts to put it on back-burner from our perspective will be counterproductive. 

In response, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has said that the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT)‘s visit was subject to the condition of reciprocity, much to the contradiction to Basit’s statement. The MEA statement reads:

The five-member Pakistan JIT heads for Pathankot on Tuesday, 29 March 2016. (Photo: PTI)
The five-member Pakistan JIT heads for Pathankot on Tuesday, 29 March 2016. (Photo: PTI)
The Ministry would like to clarify that on 26 March 2016, before the visit of the JIT, the Indian High Commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the Terms of Reference are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions.

Basit did not give any definite answer when asked if a team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India will be allowed inside Pakistan.

Basit’s Statement Sparks Fireworks

Basit’s statement at Delhi’s Foreign Correspondents Club is one of the initial statements made by Pakistan about the Foreign Secretary-level talks.

In response to Basit’s statement, Rajiv Shukla of the Congress party has said:

Pakistan is doing what it wants. We should not bend so much.
Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India leaving the Foreign Correspondent Club on Thursday, 7 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)
Abdul Basit, Pakistan High Commissioner to India leaving the Foreign Correspondent Club on Thursday, 7 April 2016. (Photo: PTI)

Another Congress member to rap the government on the knuckles was Manish Tiwari,

There is a need for the Prime Minister and BJP to get off the high horse of jingoism and introspect on our foreign policy for Pakistan. If the government expected JIT to validate Pakistan’s involvement in the Pathankot attack then they were being imbeciles.
Manish Tiwari, Congress Member

(With agency inputs)

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