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Posted at: Sep 16, 2019, 2:07 PM; last updated: Sep 16, 2019, 9:11 PM (IST)

Muslim nations ask Pak to engage in backdoor diplomacy with India

Muslim nations ask Pak to engage in backdoor diplomacy with India
Imran Khan and Narendra Modi. PTI file

Islamabad, September 16

Some influential Muslim nations have asked Pakistan to engage in backdoor diplomacy with India and requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to tone down his rhetoric against his Indian counterpart to de-escalate tensions between the two nations over Kashmir, according to a media report on Monday.

When Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Al-Nahyan travelled together to Islamabad on September 3, they came with a “message” on behalf of their leadership as well as some other powerful countries, The Express Tribune reported.

They asked Pakistan to engage in backchannel diplomacy with India.

They met Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa during their day-long trip.

“The discussions were so confidential that only top officials of the foreign ministry were allowed to sit in those meetings,” an official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.

According to the official, both Saudi and UAE diplomats conveyed their willingness to play a role in defusing tensions between Pakistan and India, the report said.

One of the proposals on the table was to encourage both countries to hold backdoor talks with each other.

While the international interlocutors were willing to persuade India to ease some of the restrictions imposed in Kashmir, they requested Pakistan to stop targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Khan was requested to tone down his verbal attacks against Modi, the report said.

However, Pakistan has turned down the requests and made it clear that it would engage with India only through quiet or conventional diplomacy after New Delhi was persuaded to meet certain conditions, officials privy to the development told the paper.

“These conditions include lifting of the curfew and other restrictions imposed in Kashmir,” the paper reported. PTI

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