Pakistan optimistic about early resumption of talks with India

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Karachi, Feb.18 (ANI): Pakistan on Thursday welcomed a statement by India’s newly-appointed High Commissioner to Islamabad in which he maintained that the resumption of talks between the two nations was not linked with the progress of investigation into the Pathankot airbase attack.

Foreign Secretary level talks between both the countries, scheduled for January 15, were postponed on January 2, after the Indian airbase in Pathankot near Pakistan’s border was stormed by terrorists, killing seven Indian security personnel.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria told a weekly briefing in Islamabad that the statement by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawaly was encouraging.

Talking to reporters in Islamabad on Monday, Bambawaly said that both foreign secretaries and the national security advisers (NSAs) are in contact, and although no date has so far been finalized for the meeting, he was optimistic that the talks will take place soon.

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“We have noted the Policy Statement made by the Indian High Commissioner, not linking Foreign Secretary talks to the Pathankot incident, and the dates of the foreign Secretary level talks. In view of this Policy Statement, in our view the dates of the Foreign Secretary level talks should now be decided as early as possible,” Zakaria said.

Pakistan’s interior ministry formed an investigation team of officials from civil and military intelligence agencies to look into the Pathakot incident after India claimed that Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) was behind the attack.

Pakistan has apprehended scores of suspects including head of JeM, Maulana Masood Azhar, but officials talking off the record say Pakistani investigators have found Indian leads “inadequate” to implicate Azhar in the case.

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Asked about the continuing human rights violations in Kashmir, Zakaria said Pakistan has not missed any opportunity to bring the atrocities to the notice of the International Community.

“We have repeatedly mentioned in the past also that this has been a serious concern for us. And I think, on a number of occasions, we have taken up this issue at various levels and we have also condemned the incidents which are taking place in which the innocent Kashmiris are being subjected to the atrocities. If you are aware, there is no occasion, there are no international fora on which we have not taken up the Kashmir issue appropriately and adequately. Our stance in this regard is very clear to all of you,” he said. (ANI)

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