India ‘sabotaging’ efforts to normalise relations: Pakistan

Pakistan has accused India of “sabotaging” efforts to normalise relations and using “flimsiest of reasons” to avoid talks, as it called on New Delhi to show “seriousness” in resolving the Kashmir issue. “The trajectory (of ties) has been down the slope. India has tried to do everything to sabotage every goodwill gesture that we made towards normalising relations,” Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria told PTI. Asked about why the two countries could not resume talks in 2016, Zakaria alleged that India was using “flimsiest of reasons to avoid talks”. “Every time there is prospect for talks, they come up with a new excuse. They want to suppress Kashmiris and use Pakistan card and border tension to hide their crimes against humanity” in Kashmir and also for “playing domestic politics”, he claimed.

Asked if 2017 will be better for bilateral ties, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman said it depends on the “Indian attitude, Indian intransigence and Indian behaviour to improve the security situation in the region”. “Most importantly, they should also immediately stop the bloodshed in Kashmir,” he said. “India should show that it is ready for talks. It should show seriousness to resolve Kashmir,” Zakaria said.

Noting that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said on the sidelines of Heart of Asia summit in Pakistan last year that peace process would continue and no incident would be able to derail the talks, Zakaria said since the Pathankot attack, India has been using it as a pretext to “run away from talks”.

“Though, they have no proof against Pakistan,” he added. Zakaria said Pakistan is not using issues like the arrest of “RAW operative” Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has allegedly confessed involvement of India in “perpetrating and financing” terrorism, to avoid dialogue with India because it believes that all contentious issues can be resolved through dialogue. Responding to a question about calm at LoC following Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s India visit this month, Zakaria said, “the LoC calm was temporary. It was due to the international pressure after the UN, the US and several other countries urged for lowering tension.”

Zakaria claimed that Pakistan has done everything to create a conducive atmosphere for revival of talks. “On the contrary, India remained busy in vitiating the atmosphere and always scuttled the efforts. It did so in November by sabotaging the SAARC summit. The summit was not about politics but about improving the socio-economic condition of the entire region. Then it showed same attitude during the Heart of Asia conference,” he alleged.

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