No India-Pak bilateral meet on sidelines of Heart of Asia conference
Pakistan will have no bilateral meeting with India on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar, where the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharaf’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is set to participate on Sunday, according to a media report.
Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the two-day conference, which focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for improving connectivity and tackling security threats.
“Pakistan and India would not hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia ministerial conference being held in Amritsar,” Dawn reported, citing officials.
“For now we don’t see any willingness on their part...the ball is in India’s court, for they know we are willing but we don’t know whether they are willing,” it quoted an official as saying.
Pakistan and India had held a meeting here at the last Heart of Asia ministerial conference and agreed to start a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ that was to cover all outstanding issues.
The resumption of the dialogue could, however, could not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year.
An official was also quoted as saying that Pakistan had not formally reached out to India for a bilateral meeting in Amritsar.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit, while participating in BBC Urdu’s ‘Facebook Live’ interaction on Wednesday, said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India is ready.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not attending the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting this year. “Since Sushma Swaraj is not attending, it’s difficult to have a meeting with anyone else,” the daily quoted a Pakistani diplomat as saying.
“The Pakistani side believes that the way out of the current stalemate in ties is India giving up its intransigence,” the daily said.
“India has to make up its mind. They are not willing to discuss Kashmir,” the official said.
India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.