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No word yet from Pakistan on NSA talks

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new Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 10 (IANS) With Islamabad yet to confirm the dates for the NSA level talks, a Pakistani minister called upon India not to play the “old blame game”.

Islamabad has still not confirmed the Aug 23-24 dates for the India-Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA)-level talks to be held in New Delhi, sources told IANS.

Last week, Pakistani sources said that they were deliberating on the dates — in an indication that they were amenable to the schedule. However, they have so far not got back to India.

In Pakistan, Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif asked India to “end blame game” and come forward with a fresh mind for peace talks.

Asif said “the old blame game had been started against Pakistan after movements of separation were growing rapidly in India”, Dawn online reported.

He said India should show sincerity in peace talks and end the old tactics of levelling false allegations against Pakistan.

Tensions between the two neighbours have increased ever since the July 10 landmark Ufa talks in Russia between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

Both sides had then agreed to have their NSAs – India’s Ajit Doval and Pakistan’s Sartaj Aziz – meet in New Delhi to discuss issues related to terrorism.

However, there has been a big question mark on the talks ever since.

The Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks by suspected Pakistani terrorists have added to the heightened tension, which last week got worse with India deciding to boycott a Commonwealth parliamentary meeting in Islamabad in protest against the Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker not being given an invite.

Pakistan has invited the speakers of all the Indian states barring Jammu and Kashmir, citing it as disputed territory.

Pakistan has denied any hand in the July 27 Gurdaspur attack in which three armed terrorists sneaked across the border and killed seven people and also laid siege to the Dinanagar police station. The three terrorists were killed after an 11-hour gunfight.

On Aug 5, a Pakistani terrorist was killed and another caught alive after the two ambushed a Border Security Force vehicle in Udhampur in Jammu region and killed two security personnel. Pakistani authorities have denied that the nabbed man, Usman, is from their country.

There have also been several instances of cross-border firing.

These tense developments come in the midst of the heartwarming tale of Geeta, a hearing and speech impaired young women who strayed into Pakistan 15 years ago as a small girl and has been sheltered there and is living with a charity in Karachi. India is arranging to bring back the young woman.