Pak­istan, In­dia talks needed for re­gional sta­bil­ity: En­voy

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Pak­istan's High Com­mis­sioner to In­dia Ab­dul Ba­sit stressed the need for un­in­ter­rupted talks be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia for peace and re­gional sta­bil­ity. Ba­sit, while ad­dress­ing a func­tion in Jaipur, said di­a­logue is the only way to im­prove ties be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia. Cit­ing Kash­mir as the root cause of all is­sues be­tween the two coun­tries, he said an en­vi­ron­ment of co­op­er­a­tion must per­sist for res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes.

Talks be­tween for­eign sec­re­taries were to take place af­ter In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi's 'sur­prise' visit to Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif on the oc­ca­sion of his grand­daugh­ter's wed­ding last year, but were rel­e­gated to the back burner af­ter a siege on In­dia's Pathankot air base in Jan­uary. In­dia claims the air base at­tack­ers had come from Pak­istan and had "prob­a­bly crossed the bor­der ad­ja­cent to the Pathankot gen­eral area", ac­cord­ing to In­dian Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Ajit Do­val. Fol­low­ing In­dian ac­cu­sa­tions that mil­i­tant group Jaish-i-Mo­ham­mad was re­spon­si­ble for the at­tacks, Pak­istani au­thor­i­ties cracked down on the group, seal­ing a Jaish-run sem­i­nary in Sialkot and tak­ing group leader Ma­sood Azhar into pro­tec­tive cus­tody. Since then, a First-In­for­ma­tion Re­port has been reg­is­tered by the Counter-Ter­ror­ism Depart­ment against the air base at­tack­ers and two Joint In­ves­ti­ga­tion Teams were con­sti­tuted to probe the at­tack. Ad­viser to the Prime Min­is­ter on For­eign Affairs Sar­taj Aziz last week said that a Pak­istani team will visit In­dia "in the next few days" to in­ves­ti­gate the Pathankot at­tack and ex­pressed hope that the for­eign sec­re­tary-level talks would be sched­uled soon af­ter. He pointed out that since the at­tack, Pak­istan had taken a num­ber of "im­por­tant steps" for re­sump­tion of the talks. Pun­jab Law Min­is­ter Rana Sanaullah ear­lier said the reg­is­tra­tion of an FIR should dis­pel mis­giv­ings other coun­tries have re­gard­ing Pak­istan's com­mit­ment to­wards erad­i­cat­ing ter­ror­ism, in what ap­peared to be a re­sponse to ac­cu­sa­tions by In­dian De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar that Pak­istan was not se­ri­ous about the Pathankot probe.

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