Indo-Pak peace process stands 'suspended', NIA visit unlikely: Abdul Basit
Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit has said that peace process with India has been 'suspended'.
Delhi: Introducing a fresh chill in Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan on Thursday said the bilateral peace process stands 'suspended' and indicated that NIA team may not be allowed to visit Islamabad for the Pathankot attack probe.
It also accused India of creating unrest in its territory.
"I think at present, the peace process between India and Pakistan is suspended", Basit said, adding, "As far as I know there is no meeting scheduled between two foreign secretaries (India-Pak) yet."
"Let’s see if we are able to commence the dialogue process (Indo-Pak)," Pakistan High Commissioner added.
At the same time he also denied possibility of NIA team's visit to Pakistan.
"Not about reciprocity but co-operation of our two countries. Personally feel that this whole investigation isn't about reciprocity, but about extending co-op to get to the bottom on this," Basit said when asked if NIA team will be allowed to visit Pakistan.
"There shouldn’t be any doubt that Pak wants to have a normal and peaceful relationship with India. However, there is no shortcut to achieving a lasting peace. Nor does cherry-picking work. What we need is to engage uninterruptedly, comprehensively, and meaningfully," he said, adding, "We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilize it. They are bound to fail as the people of Pakistan are united to effectively counter anti-Pakistan subversive activities on basis of sovereign equality and mutual interest. There is national consensus on this in Pakistan."
"We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilize the country, The recent arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistan irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along. They're bound to fail as the people of Pakistan are united to effectively counter anti-Pakistan subversive activities ," the Pakistani envoy alleged.
"In the last one month, our authorities have arrested scores of terror operatives with foreign linkages. The presence of such elements is quite disturbing to say the least," Basit added.
On Yadav, he said, "Indian request is under consideration, but can't say when they would be given consular access."
"It is the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that is the root cause of mutual distrust and other bilateral issues. Therefore, it’s fair and just resolution, as per the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is imperative. Attempts to put it on the back burner will be counterproductive," Basit maintained.
"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly believes in enhancing regional cooperation and connectivity. However, a strong regional cooperative structure cannot be built on unpredictable bilateral relations. We need to move on all fronts simultaneously if we are to benefit from the opportunities unleashed by globalization," he pointed out.
"19th SAARC Summit will be held in Islamabad in November this year. We sincerely hope the Summit, building on the past achievements, would help create more synergies and win-win situations," he said.
Talking about Pakistan, he said, "Let me conclude by saying that Pakistan straddles South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. Our country is therefore destined to become a regional economic hub. And the world will see this happening sooner than later."
Basit was speaking at Foreign Correspondents club in the national capital.
A Pakistani commentator said on TV later that Basit was speaking for Pakistan, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of National Security Council attended by the chiefs of armed forces, as per PTI.
Countering the Pakistan High Commissioner's assertion that the visit by Pakistani JIT was not on reciprocity, India today said before the team's visit here, both sides had agreed that it would be on the basis of reciprocity.
"We have seen comments by the Pakistani High Commissioner on the visit of the JIT Team to investigate the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Base that have reference to reciprocity. MEA would like to clarify that on 26 March, 2016, before the visit of the JIT, the Indian High Commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the Terms of Reference 'are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions'. Subsequently, the JIT visited from March 27 to April 1, 2016," External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup said, as per PTI.
Reacting on the development, Congress' Manish Tewari said to a TV channel, "It is major diplomatic incident and embarrassment for government of India."
He also said, "There is a need for PM and BJP to get off the high horse of jingoism and introspect on foreign policy for Pakistan," as per ANI.
"If government expected JIT to validate Pakistan's involvement in Pathankot attack then they were being imbeciles," Tewari added.
On the other hand, Delhi CM Tweeted: "Todays announcements by Pak are a slap on India's face, thanks to our PM."
Another Congress leader and party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Pakistan's unilateral suspension of peace process is extremely unfortunate. It is also a grim reminder of how Pakistan time and again has betrayed the peace process and its commitment to resolve all bilateral issues through peaceful negotiations."
He hoped that BJP government has learnt their lesson and will "refrained from unthought, unconsulted diplomatic moves" purely aimed at building Modi's "larger than life persona at the cost of compromising our nation's safety and security."
At the same time, Surjewala said Congress stood with all Indians in condemning Pakistan's skewed move to undo the peace process.
Meanwhile, BJP's Subramanian Swamy said, "Abdul Basit should be told to go back home. Also, our ambassador in Pakistan should be called back to India."
(With Agency inputs)