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Don’t expect progress in vacuum, Basit tells India
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NEW DELHI, Mar 19 (Agencies): Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said that Pakistan and India need to sit across the table to discuss core issues including the long-standing issue of Jammu Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek.

“We cannot expect progress in vacuum,” he opined in response to queries from the host of India Conclave 2017, a TV show by the India Today, telecast on Saturday. He urged the Indian government to create a conducive environment by restoring the spirit of cooperation, thus paving way for settlement of core issues.

“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,” he said. He said that the two countries needed to decide over the fundamental issues like Jammu Kashmir first before moving to other issues like terrorism.

He said that 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 – which required to be dealt simultaneously. To another question, he 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 Kashmir,” he added. About Mumbai attack trials, he said that both governments were cooperating and expediting the process and expressed the hope that they would be able to make progress. He said that it was taking time as the crime was committed in India and trial was being held in Pakistan.

“Our suggestion to Indian friends would be not to jump the gun. Trial is underway, both countries are in touch and bilateral cooperation is 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.

Abdul Basit also questioned Indian government over the progress in the Samjhota Express blast case. To a question about Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, he said that he had been put under house arrest. He said that 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. He 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 senior US official who had admitted that Pakistan was being destabilised through Afghanistan.

The Taliban leadership had found sanctuaries inside Afghanistan and were being provided with funding to carry out terrorists activities in Pakistan, he told the Indian audience. Regarding a question to Pathankot attack, he said that it required restoration of spirit of cooperation on part of his hosts.

He viewed that his neighbouring country should overcome its prejudices against Pakistan. He 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 also said that nobody could condone or justify terrorism.

News Updated at : Sunday, March 19, 2017
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