Pakistani, Indian foreign secretaries to meet on January 15, says Aziz
Amid uncertainty in the wake of the Pathankot terror attack, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said foreign decretary-level talks with India are scheduled to take place on January 15.
In reply to a question in the National Assembly, Pakistan’s Parliament, Aziz said Pakistan and India’s foreign secretaries are scheduled to meet on January 15.
He said the two foreign secretaries will decide the time schedule of various meetings under the newly agreed ‘comprehensive bilateral dialogue’.
Aziz said Kashmir will be part of the talks between the two countries along with several other issues.
Aziz’s response came to a query by Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaf party’s Shireen Mazari, who wanted to know the status of dialogue after India’s outgoing envoy T.C.A. Raghavan’s reported remarks that his country will only discuss PoK in talks.
Putting the ball squarely in Pakistan’s court, India has linked the foreign secretary-level talks to Islamabad’s “prompt and decisive” action on the Pathankot terror attack for which it has provided “actionable intelligence”.
However, Pakistan is seeking “concrete evidence” from India for acting against the elements it suspects of being involved in the terrorist strike at Pathankot airbase instead of ‘leads’ suggesting the attack was planned and directed from Pakistan, Dawn reports.
“We are expecting evidence beyond leads and information to proceed as per our law,” a senior official said in a background discussion after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of his security aides on the Pathankot incident and Pakistan’s response.
The official’s comments provided an insight into Pakistan’s planned response to India, which had shared what was described as ‘leads’ and ‘actionable intelligence’, with Pakistani authorities.
Officials had previously said that the shared information included intercepts of telephone calls made by militants to their alleged handlers and the locations of the numbers which they (militants) had called in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the US feels time has come for Pakistan to walk the talk on the promises it made — both in public and in private conversations — that there would be no discrimination in its action against terrorist networks and to bring the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack to justice.
A senior state department official said Pakistan should not come out with lame excuses to shield them as has been the case with the Mumbai terrorist attack.
“They (Pakistan) have said publicly that they are going to investigate. They have said publicly that they are not going to discriminate between terrorist groups. We look to see actions to back up those words,” the official added.