Pakistan says talks with India suspended, hints won’t allow NIA visit


The Pathankot attack has led to stalling of the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, which had been kick-started by a visit to Pakistan late last year by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and a December 25 stop-over visit to Lahore by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which he held talks over tea with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit said on Thursday the dialogue with India is suspended as there are no plans for the foreign secretaries to meet, while hinting that the NIA will not be given access to JeM chief Masood Azhar for the probe into the Pathankot attack.

The assault on the Pathankot airbase, blamed on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, disrupted fresh efforts to place troubled bilateral ties on an even keel and Basit’s remarks reflected a new low in the diplomatic impasse.

The arrest of alleged RAW agent Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan also triggered a row between the two sides. China’s decision last week to block India’s move at the UN to designate Azhar a terrorist has added to tensions.

“I would say the dialogue is suspended,” Basit said during an interaction at the Foreign Correspondents Club, responding to a question on the status of the comprehensive dialogue announced by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz last December.

“There is no meeting scheduled between the foreign secretaries… Let’s see if we are able to commence the dialogue process,” he said.

Basit created a stir by saying a Pakistani joint investigation team’s (JIT) visit to India to probe the Pathankot attack was not based on reciprocity — the complete opposite of what external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said several times though the day.

“The visit of the Pakistan JIT was not based on reciprocity, but on a spirit of cooperation,” Basit said when asked whether an NIA team would be allowed to visit Pakistan.

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