Let’s talk Kashmir first, terror later: Pakistan

BK Monitoring Desk/Srinagar
March 20, 2017 TOP STORIES 311 Views
Let’s talk Kashmir first, terror later: Pakistan

Pakistan has urged the Indian government to create a conducive environment by restoring the spirit of cooperation, thus paving way for settlement of core issues like Jammu and Kashmir.
“What I underline is that we need an overall conducive environment. When we are not talking to each other, when we are avoiding each other and when there is no environment of cooperation, then how you can expect to move forward,” Pakistan High Commissioner to Delhi Abdul Basit said in response to queries from the host of India Today TV programme “India Conclave 2017”.
Basit said the two countries needed to decide over the fundamental issues like Jammu and Kashmir first before moving to other issues like terrorism which also posed an equal challenge to both the neighbouring countries.
“We need to be sitting across the table to discuss the difficult issues. We cannot expect progress in vacuum,” he opined.
Pakistan’s envoy further said terrorism was no doubt, a serious challenge to their countries, but at the end of the day, they had to discuss the other serious issues which were also of equally importance and impacted the bilateral ties like the Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek.
He stressed that these were the core issues which required to be dealt simultaneously.
Basit to another question maintained that terrorism issue could not alone define the entire gamut of bilateral ties between Pakistan and India. “By creating hype around it (terrorism), you cannot wish away other issues like Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
About Mumbai attack trials, he said both governments were cooperating and expediting the process and expressed the hope that they would be able to make progress. He said it was taking time as the crime was committed in India and the trial was being held in Pakistan.
“Our suggestion to Indian friends would be not to jump the gun. Trial was under way, both countries were in touch and bilateral cooperation was needed to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added.
He underlined the need to assist the court to dispense justice and rejected the presumption that issues like Mumbai attack defined the bilateral ties.
Replying to a question about Hafiz Saeed, Basit said he had been put under house arrest and asked India to not “jump the gun”. He expressed the hope that India would share evidences in this regard.
The Pakistan high commissioner said India needed to take basic decision over the bilateral ties whether to be influenced by such kind of acute approaches or to move ahead.
He stressed Indian authorities to overcome the hostilities which preceded incidents like Mumbai or Samjhota Express. Basit also advised his hosts to end the blame game as it could lead to nowhere.
About 70,000 innocent lives had been lost in the war against terrorism in Pakistan, he said and quoted a US senior official who had admitted that Pakistan was being destabilised through Afghanistan.
The TTP leadership had found sanctuaries inside Afghanistan and were being provided with funds to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan, he added.
Regarding a question to Pathankote attack, Basit said it required restoration of spirit of cooperation on part of his hosts.
He viewed that his neighbouring country should overcome its prejudices against Pakistan.
Basit categorically stated that democracy in Pakistan was being strengthened as the country had come a long way on this path and noted that some people found it difficult to do away with their pathological biases against the country.
He further said that nobody could condone or justify terrorism.
Abdul Basit once again asked India to bring perpetrators of the Samjhota Express bomb blast to justice.
To a question regarding probe into Mumbai attacks case, Abdul Basit said: “I would not like to offend anyone here but how much time it has taken for India to try those perpetrators of the Samjhota Express blast.”
The NIA has filed a charge sheet against several people, including Swami Aseemanand, who recently was acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.

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