No backchannel talks between Pakistan and India — Khar
Islamabad, Jan 26 (PTI) Pakistan said on Thursday that no backchannel talks were being held between Islamabad and New Delhi.
“At this moment, there is no such thing under way,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told the Senate – the upper house of parliament.
She added that backchannel diplomacy was desirable when it was result-oriented.
Separately, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch at the weekly media briefing reiterated Khar’s remarks about no secret diplomatic engagements with India.
“There is no backchannel diplomacy between India and Pakistan,” Baloch said.
Speaking in the Senate, Khar went on to say that Pakistan had always taken initiatives to promote peace in the region but “right now, the cross-border hostility [from India] is of a unique type.”
She said that Pakistan was asked at international forums sometimes to normalise its ties with India, but the world should look at the messages New Delhi was sending to Islamabad.
“The messages that we are getting are all conflagratory. Pakistan has the largest interest in unleashing [the potential of] this region but when you have a government on the other side whose prime minister says that their nuclear assets are not for Diwali [ ] then what can we do?” Khar told the senators.
Her remarks came days after Indian media reported that New Delhi has invited Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to attend the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO in Goa in May.
Baloch in her briefing said that Pakistan had received the invitation which was sent by India as host of the SCO meeting and was reviewing it.
“The invitation is being reviewed. A decision regarding participation in the meeting will be taken after deliberation,” she said.
She said as in the past, the Indian invitations are being processed as per standard procedures and a decision will be taken in due course.
The spokesperson also said the SCO is an important trans-regional organisation that aims to strengthen economic linkages and cooperation among its member states in different fields.
Talking about the controversial BBC documentary targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Khar said that the broadcaster had shown the world what Pakistan had said already, adding that Pakistan had learnt from history but some countries in the region have not.
India has been maintaining that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan while insisting that the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment free of terror and hostility for such an engagement.
The ties between India and Pakistan came under severe strain after India’s warplanes pounded a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot in Pakistan in February 2019 in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
The relations further deteriorated after India in August 2019 announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.