Pakistan today hoped that the meeting of India’s DG BSF and DG Rangers will take place as per schedule on September 5-6, notwithstanding the current bitterness between the two countries after the cancellation of NSA-level talks.
However, Pakistan National Security Adviser Sartaz Aziz asserted that if India continues to make meeting between visiting Pakistan leaders and Hurriyat separatists a redline for official talks, then there cannot be any dialogue.
“We are confident that the meeting between the border forces on September 5 and 6 will go ahead,” Aziz told Karan Thapar on India Today. He said Pakistan has also prepared a proposal, which they hope to exchange with India, on setting up a mechanism so that some progress could be made on maintaining peace and tranquility on the border.
He further said Pakistan will continue to implement those points which were agreed upon in Ufa (Russia) between the two Prime Ministers -Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi- such as release of fishermen and mechanism for facilitating religious tourism.
He also hoped that Modi will visit Pakistan to attend SAARC summit, saying it was a multilateral which should be kept out of bilateral issues. No Indian Prime Minister has visited Pakistan in last 10 years, it will be good opportunity for Modi to come, he added.
On the separatists’ issue, which was one of the reason the NSA-level talks were cancelled, Aziz said it was “unwarranted and unjustified” on India’s part to make his meeting with them a big issue.
Asked if suggested would he have agreed to meet the Hurriyat leaders after the talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, Aziz said that suggestion was never conveyed. “Probabaly… Could have considered at some level,” he added.
On why Pakistan tried to push Kashmir as an agenda for NSA-level talks, Aziz said in Ufa is was decided that the two sides would also discuss modalities for the other outstanding issues and for Pakistan “Kashmir is the core outstanding issue”.
He said Pakistan had insisted to put Kashmir in the Ufa statement but India maintained that outstanding issues meant Kashmir in the agreed document. “We never thought so but now it appears so,” he said when asked by not categorically mentioning Kashmir in the Ufa statement, did Pakistan fall into “India’s trap”.