Pakistan, India must return to the negotiating table: Abdul Basit

1159

ISLAMABAD, August 1 (APP): Pakistan High Commissioner to
India Abdul Basit Tuesday said it is time for India and Pakistan
to return to the negotiating table without further ado and
preconditions.
Upon the end of his tenure as High Commissioner in India,
he expressed his views in an article he wrote for Times of India
in which he elaborated the complex nature of Pak-India relationship
during recent past.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s inauguration along with other SAARC leaders that
reflected our sincere desire to make a new beginning.
“Two PMs in their maiden meeting agreed to resume bilateral
dialogue as soon as possible but later the press conference by
the then Indian foreign secretary, issuing a charge sheet against
Pakistan, when PM Sharif was still in town, was unhelpful to say
the least, also India’s decision to cancel its foreign secretary’s
scheduled visit to Islamabad in August 2014 in reaction to my
interaction with the Hurriyat leadership, quite baffling”, he
added.
He said it is incumbent to maintain peace and tranquility
along the LoC and settlement of disputes such as Siachen and
Sir Creek is very important to build a permanent peace between
the two countries.
Abdul Basit said many in India are not yet convinced that
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is the root-cause of our troubled
relationship but they dub terrorism as the major issue. “To
them my submission is that the wars our two countries have
fought during the last 70 years, all predated the Samjhauta
Express blast (2007), the Mumbai attacks (2008) and Pathankot
(2016)”, he added.
He said that Pakistan is not oblivious to menace of
terrorism and operations such as “Zarb-i-Azb” and “Raddul
Fasaad” are the examples of Pakistan’s determination to
take the counter-terrorism drive to its logical conclusion.
Abdul Basit said it is imperative to find an amicable
solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute that is also acceptable
to Kashmiris, Pakistan cannot put the J&K dispute on the
back burner.
“Effective diplomacy is not about glossing over or
shelving seemingly intractable issues but to address them
conclusively and satisfactorily”, he added.
Implying to India’s concern about Pathankot attack,
he said it is in our mutual interest to determine beyond
a shadow of doubt and bring the culprits to book but
convicting the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express
blast in which 42 Pakistanis lost their lives, is equally
important.
He said existing CBMs/agreements should also be
adhered to in letter and spirit.
He said that Pakistan is not interested in a Sisyphean
arms race but will maintain the credibility of its full
spectrum deterrence under all circumstances. “Maintaining
regional strategic stability should be one of our top
most priorities”, he added.
He thanked the people of India for their warmth and
affection during his tenure.