ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has called for ‘serious’ and ‘result-oriented engagement’ between Pakistan and India for lasting peace and development in the region.
In a detailed interview with Indian Express, High Commissioner Abdul Basit said Pakistan does not see dialogue as a favour by one country to another.
“Dialogue is in our mutual interest. If India is ready, Pakistan will be willing, if India is not ready then we can always wait for India to make up its mind”, the commissioner who strongly believe that Pakistan and India must work together for peace and prosperity.
During the interview, Mr Basit spoke at length about India’s claimed surgical strikes, the derailed peace process, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit and the future of Pakistan-India ties.
When asked why Pakistan was denying so-called surgical strikes, Mr Basit said, “Firstly, this is for the first time that India has publicly acknowledged to have breached the 2003 ceasefire understanding, so this is quite significant. Secondly, what I see is the commonly acceptable definition of the surgical strike has been modulated unilaterally by India, which also means cross-LoC firing. Why I am saying this. the official statement issued by India, your (Indian) DGMO, very clearly suggests that the action took place along the Line of Control, not across.”
“Now as far as Pakistan is concerned, we haven’t seen any activity on September 29, other than usual cross-LoC firing and you know what our stance is, we have also taken both Pakistani and foreign journalists to the locations. There is no sign of any activity in those areas, other than the cross-LoC firing in which two Pakistani soldiers have been martyred,” the commissioner added.
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He said, “We are confident that our deterrence is working. It is important to avoid drawing wrong conclusions and raising false expectations because it is not in our mutual interest to push ourselves to the precipice,” and added, “Any attack inside Pakistan by Indian forces would be retaliated immediately.”
When asked if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reference to Burhan Wani in his United Nations General Assembly speech dented Pak-India relations, he said, “I don’t think so. If hundreds and thousands of people come out on the streets to attend Burhan Wani’s funeral. It is important not to be in denial mode. What is happening clearly shows as to what exactly people of J&K are thinking, what do they want.”
Regarding a question about the postponement of Saarc Summit, Mr Basit said, “You know Pakistan is too big a country to be isolated, so we are not worried about that, and I am sure good sense will prevail and [we] will host the 19th SAARC summit at an appropriate time. So we are also positive that it has been postponed, but Pakistan will be able to host it. If not this year, hopefully, next year.”