By: Ali Hussain
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry on Tuesday took up with his Indian counterpart Dr S. Jaishankar Raw’s subversive activities in Balochistan and the arrest of its serving officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. The Indian side, which sought an early consular access to the arrested spy, claimed that Jadhav was a former Navy officer who was “abducted and taken to Pakistan”.
According to Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, the Foreign Secretary, who met his Indian counterpart in New Delhi on the sidelines of Heart of Asia Senior Officials Meeting, took up the matter of RAW officer, Kulbushan Jadhav. He said the Foreign Secretary expressed serious concern over RAW’s involvement in subversive activities in Balochistan and Karachi, adding such acts undermine efforts to normalise relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, he said that all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, were discussed. Aizaz Chaudhry expressed the confidence that, building on the goodwill generated by the recent high level contacts, the two countries should remain committed to a sustained, meaningful and comprehensive dialogue process.
“The meeting provided a useful opportunity to exchange views on recent developments in bilateral context,” the spokesperson said.
In this sprit, the Foreign Secretary underscored the need for an early commencement of a comprehensive dialogue for which the Indian Foreign Secretary’s visit to Pakistan is due. He also underscored Pakistan’s commitment to have friendly relations with all its neighbours, including India, in line with the Prime Minister’s vision.
He further emphasised that Kashmir remains the core issue that requires a just solution under UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
According to the spokesperson, the foreign secretary also conveyed concern over the environment being created in India for the release of the prime suspects of the Samjhauta Express blasts. He pointed out that, despite repeated requests, India has not shared investigation reports in which 42 Pakistanis had lost their lives.
The Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) has recently stated that the prime suspect in Samjhauta Express terrorist attack Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit was never an accused in the attack and that it found no proof against him. Earlier, addressing the Heart of Asia Senior Officials Meeting, sources said that Foreign Secretary reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He condemned the 19th April terrorist attack in Kabul, reiterating Pakistan’s condolences and sympathies with the Afghan Government and people over the loss of innocent lives in this tragic incident.
In this regard, he highlighted that Pakistan along with other QCG [Quadrilateral Co-ordination Group] countries was engaged in serious efforts for early direct peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban, under the principle of shared commitment.
The Foreign Secretary expressed Pakistan’s keen desire for promoting regional cooperation through mega connectivity projects such as CASA 1000, TAPI and railroad network linking Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
India’s External Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said that Foreign Secretary Jaishankar clearly conveyed that Pakistan cannot be in denial on the impact of terrorism on the bilateral relationship. On the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav, he stated:
“We pressed for immediate consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Naval officer abducted and taken to Pakistan”.
He further said that the discussions also covered humanitarian issues including those pertaining to fishermen and prisoners, and people to people contacts including religious tourism. The two foreign secretaries exchanged ideas on taking the relationship forward and agreed to remain in touch, he added.
Source: Business Recorder