Peace talks off? Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit confirms process is suspended
On Thursday, Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit addressed a press conference in which he denied the possibility of NIA team's visit to Pakistan to probe the attack on the Pathankot airbase. In March Pakistan's Joint investigative Team was in India to probe the Pathankot attack, which many assumed would be reciprocated in the form of a visit by the NIA to Pakistan.
In a dramatic media conference on Thursday, Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit said that according to him the peace process between India and Pakistan at present 'is suspended.'
Basit, however, remained evasive on whether a team from the NIA would be allowed to visit Pakistan to probe the Pathankot attacks which took place earlier this year. In March, Pakistan's Joint Investigative Team was in India to probe the attack, after which reports suggested that NIA could go to the neighbouring for its investigation.
Speaking to the media, the envoy said, "Personally I feel that this whole investigation isn't about reciprocity, but about extending co-operation to get to the bottom on this."
"Therefore, a fair and just resolution is a must and attempts to put it on backburner from our perspective will be counterproductive," he said.
Not about reciprocity but co-operation of our two countries: Abdul Basit on if NIA team will be allowed to visit Pak pic.twitter.com/tqCbW6oTDK
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 7, 2016
Four months after the terror attacks in Pathankot, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had said that its team might visit Pakistan to probe the attack.
"The Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) welcomed the idea that an NIA would like to visit Pakistan and carry forward the probe," Sharad Kumar, DG, NIA had said.
The JIT team which was in India in March, to probe the Pathankot attacks was given a detailed presentation on the probe and was taken to the scene of the attacks in Pathankot. The team was also handed some documents which included the DNA report of the four terrorists and also given access to witnesses.
New Delhi had claimed that the attack on the airbase was masterminded by Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
Recently, China had vetoed the UN sanctions committee's attempt to designate Azhar as terrorist, maintaining that the case "did not meet the requirements" of the Security Council. This had come after India had taken up at a "fairly high level" with China the issue of Beijing blocking its bid to have JeM chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as designated terrorist by the UN.
On Thursday Basit said that he agreed with the Chinese on the Masood Azhar issue.
I subscribe to Chinese viewpoint, says Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Beijing's veto on Masood Azhar pic.twitter.com/HTsDlnp0Dj
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 7, 2016
Basit went on to say, "There shouldn’t be any doubt that Pakistan wants to have a normal & peaceful relationship with India. We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilize it are bound to fail as the people of Pakistan are united to effectively counter anti-Pakistan subversive activities."
On India's request for consular access to Kulbhushan Yadav, the alleged spy arrested by Islamabad, Basit said, "The request is under consideration, but can't say when they would be given consular access," reported The Times of India.
Basit announced in the media conference that the 19th SAARC Summit would be held in Islamabad. He said, "We sincerely hope the summit, building on the past achievements, would help create more synergies and win-win situations."
The official further said ,"It is the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that is the root cause of mutual distrust (Indo-Pak) and other bilateral issues."
It is possible that the political leadership in India may find it difficult to back a terrorist organization associated with that humiliating incident without making itself vulnerable to political attacks that may even find resonance with citizens.
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