Pakistan Envoy Says Peace Process With India Suspended, Cites Kashmir As ‘Root Cause'

07/04/2016 7:59 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (R) talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Lahore, Pakistan, December 25, 2015. Modi arranged his landmark visit to Pakistan - the first by an Indian leader in a decade, at the last minute on Friday, a Pakistani official said. REUTERS/Press Information Department (PID)/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE

Barely a week after a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan wrapped up its India visit to probe the Pathankot terror attack, a Pakistani envoy in Delhi said on Thursday that the peace process between the two countries was suspended, citing Kashmir as the bone of contention.

“Let’s be realistic. It is the Jammu & Kashmir dispute that is the root cause of mutual distrust and other bilateral issues. Therefore, it’s fair and just resolution, as per the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, is imperative. Attempts to put it on the back burner will be counterproductive,” Pakistan high commissioner to India Abdul Basit said.

He hinted that Pakistan may not allow Indian investigation team to visit the country to probe the Pathankot attack, as was recently agreed upon by the security agencies of the two countries.

The whole investigation is not about question of reciprocity and is about cooperation between the two countries in probing the Pathankot attack,” Basit said.

Asked whether he was ruling out NIA visit to Pakistan, he said, "I leave it to your imagination."

“There is no meeting scheduled as of now. I think at present the peace process is suspended,” he added.

He also referred to the purported arrest of an alleged Indian Navy officer in Pakistan’s Balochistan. Last month, the Pakistan Army released a video of ‘an arrested ex-Indian Navy officer’ purportedly ‘confessing’ his ‘involvement’ in terror activities in Balochistan. New Delhi had rubbished these claims and sought access to the arrested Indian national.

“The recent arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistan irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along,” Basit said, adding, “We all are aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilise the country… They are bound to fail as the people of Pakistan are united to effectively counter anti-Pakistan subversive activities.”

Tension started to build up once again between the neighbours after the Pakistani JIT claimed that Indian authorities "failed" to provide evidence to prove that Pakistan-based terrorists had stormed the IAF base, according to reports.

India disapproved Pakistan’s claim on Thursday and asserted that the JIT’s probe was carried out as per the terms and conditions agreed upon in advance by both the governments.

China last week scuttled India's attempt to get JeM Chief Masood Azhar designated as a terrorist by the United Nations. Pakistan-based JeM was behind the Pathankot attack.

India had responded by issuing a strongly-worded statement, slamming China's virtual veto of its attempt to blacklist Pathankot terror strike mastermind Azhar, saying "this does not reflect well on the determination that the international community needs to display to decisively defeat the menace of terrorism".

On Wednesday, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came down heavily on the Narendra Modi government, saying its Pakistan policy was in 'shambles.' Singh said the government was failing miserably to honour its solemn promise to the people of the country.

“The government’s policy towards Pakistan is in shambles. Terrorists from Pakistan continue to operate freely not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in Punjab and other neighbouring states,” Singh, who represented Assam in Rajya Sabha for 10 years, told a Congress poll rally.

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