Basit Says "Peace Process With India Has Been Suspended'', Rakes Up Kashmir Issue Once Again
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit on Thursday said that in his view the ""peace process with India has been suspended"" as there is no meeting scheduled between the two Foreign Secretaries yet. He was responding to a question over the status of the peace process between India and Pakistan. ""I think at present it is suspended, so let's see if we are able to commence the dialogue process,'' he said at a programme at the Foreign Correspondents Club in the Capital. To another question on whether India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be permitted to visit Pakistan, the High Commissioner said that ""the whole investigation is not about reciprocity in view but more about extending cooperation.""
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the visit of Pakistan's Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe Pathankot Air Base terror attack took place in a cooperative approach. Answering a query at his weekly briefing, the spokesperson said that India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) would also like to visit Pakistan. Earlier, in his opening statement, Mr. Basit stated that Pakistan wants to have a normal and peaceful relationship with India, He raked up once again the issue of Jammu & Kashmir, reiterating that its ""fair and just resolution, as per the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, is imperative."" He said that there was no short cut to achieving a lasting peace and added that both the neighbours need to engage uninterruptedly, comprehensively, and meaningfully.
Mr. Basit termed the Jammu & Kashmir dispute as being at the ""root cause of mutual distrust and other bilateral issues"", adding that attempts to put it on the backburner will be counterproductive. Referring to the recent arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistan, he claimed that it corroborated what Pakistan has been saying all along. ""We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilize the country,"" India has denied any link of the arrest with the R&AW, its external intelligence agency, which the Pakistan has been alleging was behind bids to foment trouble in Balochistan. India has demanded consulr access to Kulbhushan Yadav to which the Pakistan has not responded in the past two weeks.
Mr. Basit also claimed that in the last one month, Pak authorities have arrested scores of terror operatives with foreign linkages. He said the presence of such elements was ""quite disturbing."" He said that the Zarb-e-Azb operation against terrorism and militancy in Pakistan was yielding good results. The High Commissioner said that Pakistani economy was also showing signs of recovery and macro-economic indicators were encouraging. ""There is special emphasis on infrastructure development and energy projects. With growing foreign investments the overall economic situation is steadily improving,"" he added.
""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,"" the Pak envoy said.
He expressed the hope that the 19th SAARC Summit, to be held in Islamabad in November this year, would help create more synergies and win-win situation. Even as Islamabad continues to face heat at global forums on its support to terrorism and its failure in dismantling the terror infrastructure from its soil, the High Commissioner put up a brave front by asserting that Pakistan's contributions in developing non-discriminatory and effective multilateral frameworks, ranging from security to economic cooperation to human rights issues are recognized the world over.
""It is in this spirit, Pakistan continues to be one of the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions around the world. Pakistan, a country of 200 million people, is blessed with enormous resources. We have begun our march towards stability and prosperity. Nothing can detract us from realizing our potential,"" he said."