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Posted at: May 20, 2017, 2:02 AM; last updated: May 20, 2017, 3:08 PM (IST)

Situation untenable: Basit

Pak envoy says from J&K to terrorism, Islamabad ready to discuss all
Situation untenable: Basit

Simran Sodhi

tribune news service

New Delhi, May 19

The present India-Pakistan situation is “untenable”’ and “pre-conditions” to talks don’t work, Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, told The Tribune today.

Pointing to the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, he said: “Pakistan as a responsible country, never flip flops on principles to cater for temporary benefits. And like all other states, we do not compromise on issues related to national security.”

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Reiterating Pakistan was willing for a “meaningful engagement with India,” he emphasised the only way forward was dialogue. On India’s contention that “talks and terror can’t go together”, Basit said sooner or later, Pakistan and India would have to come to the negotiating table, “either now or five years down the lane.

The envoy urged India to return to the 2009 Sharam al Sheikh Statement wherein the two countries had decided to keep the issues of terrorism and talks apart. “We need to revert to that statement,” he said, stressing Pakistan was willing to discuss all issues, from Jammu and Kashmir to terrorism.

Consistently referring to Jadhav as “Commander Jadhav,” he spoke of the “limited reprieve given to India”  by the  International Court of Justice (ICJ) while giving a stay on Jadhav’s execution, which the envoy pointed out was of no consequence as “he (Jadhav) was not being executed yesterday.” He was non-committal on whether the ICJ verdict was legally binding on Pakistan “I don’t see how Commander Jadhav can be executed over the next month. There is a process which will take its course.”

On consular access/ visas to Jadhav’s family, the envoy said these would have to be decided on merit. “Pakistan is not really worried; we believe that as far as Commander Jadhav is concerned, Pakistan is on terra firma (solid ground). The case is also a testimony to the fact that terrorism in Pakistan is not without external dimensions.”

Referring to the lack of progress in the Mumbai and Pathankot trials, Basit stuck to his earlier argument that progress could not be achieved till the two countries talked to each other.   “On Pathankot, how can you achieve results without cooperation? We agreed to send our investigators, we extended full cooperation. It is important to retain the spirit of cooperation.”

On the speculation that Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif might meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai meeting in June, Basit said there was no such proposal yet from either the Indian or the Pakistani side.

“Pakistan’s stand has always been that back-channel diplomacy without front-channel diplomacy is irrelevant,” he added. 

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