Pakistan’s new envoy in India Salman Bashir (above) sees a sea change in the atmospherics with India.   —File Photo by Reuters

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s new envoy in India Salman Bashir sees a sea change in the atmospherics with India and he told an Indian news channel on Sunday that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s likely visit to Islamabad would not only cement the ties but take them substantially forward.

“I think the atmospherics have witnessed a sea change,” Mr Bashir told TV anchor Karan Thapar a day after presenting his credentials to Indian President Pratibha Patil.

“Let me say that it was in Thimpu when both our prime ministers met and had a plus one-hour conversation and then later they called us and briefed us. And it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who said that we should invest in building trusts by having frequent visits, exchanges at all levels. I think that is happening and that is huge in terms of where we were.”

Mr Bashir reiterated Pakistan's offer to help India with a joint probe into the Abu Jindal affair but described as incredible the Indian suggestion that the alleged Mumbai terror mastermind was helped in any way by Pakistani officials in plotting the outrage.

“As I said if our own army headquarters are attacked, if ISI offices are attacked then I think it is really unbelievable, incredible to allege that Pakistani state, institutes have been involved in this. We ought to look at the situation very objectively in our respect of national interests,” Mr Bashir said.

Pakistan was very serious about speeding up the stalled trial of the existing suspects in the Mumbai attack “and anything that has got to do with terror”. On the last count a court had intervened to set free a detained suspect. “And as you know Pakistan has a very independent judiciary, number one. Number two, I think, I ought to mention, you know, if we get to cooperate like this particular issue at least 25 plus documents have been exchanged by both sides, 12 dossiers from India, 13 from Pakistan. That's the real stuff that is how we should proceed.

Now judiciary has its own parameters and the fact is that the prosecution that is the government has done its best and will continue to persist to ensure that justice finally prevails.”

He said while the courts could be tardy investigating agencies were not always sprinting.“The point is that some of these things like the Samjhauta thing that took place in 2007 is yet under investigation. And I think we ought to look at the spirit, we ought to be fixated on the objects that we need to achieve and not get into forensics of a particular situation.”

Mr Bashir played down the importance of any specific model for the India-Pakistan dialogue to pursue.

“You mentioned India-China model, there is also the Pakistan-China model, there is also the China-Japan model, you know we have models in the present day and age. I think the world has changed, changing fast, the region is changing fast. There are lot of opportunities between Pakistan and India.”

Responding to a question that many Indians looked at the recent joint statement issued by the foreign secretaries and saw Kashmir was point number six under terror. Did it indicate that both countries are learning to handle Kashmir with less acrimony and more accommodation? “I agree with you, I think yes,” Mr Bashir replied.

On the Indian prime minister's possible visit, widely seen as likely this year, he said: “I certainly agree that a visit by the Prime Minister of India would go a long way in not only cementing, but also taking the relationship forward.”

Updated Jul 16, 2012 03:02am

More From This Section

Comments (27) (Closed)


luqman
Jul 16, 2012 11:41am
now both countries should look forward.
@SecularPakista1
Jul 16, 2012 01:52pm
Pakistan and India need to marginalize the fringe rightwing elements in their political midst and forge a progressive path forward. This is the only way for a better future. Extremists on either side do not move the peace needle forward.
Ramesh N G
Jul 16, 2012 12:49pm
great thinking - I still remember what I read the wonder hospitality people of Pakistan showed our cricketers few years when they visited Pakistan - this shows how much the people love us and we to love to do that - we just hate one thing - selfish people promoting terror - everything else is fine.
Raj
Jul 16, 2012 11:28am
Whenever Pakistan's involvement in terrorism/terrorist comes up the Samjahuta incident is brought up. There is one big difference. Samjahuta incident was carried out by Indians on Indian soil and India has taken and will take action. Whereas Pakistan's involvement in Mumbai carnage has been proved beyond doubt and Pakistan is dragging its feet in taking action againstt the Pakistani culprits.
PARVEEZ
Jul 18, 2012 01:13pm
Good words, hope we as the people can take this forward, because our leaders will not. They will go one step forward and two step backwards. Should stop the USA interfering. Because The west does not want peace in this area. Who will they sell arms to. REMEMBER " DIVIDE AND RULE"
A.Bajwa
Jul 16, 2012 11:39am
Ultimately geography dominates, As European found out after centuries it is better to live peacefully. SAARC is a good framework and should be used as the basis.
ammar
Jul 16, 2012 02:02pm
india and pakistan should stop fighting now.enough is enough.accept each others existence.and concentrate on ur economy.dono mulko me bot gurbat ha.
NASAH (USA)
Jul 16, 2012 02:47pm
Bashir makes a great envoy -- a good omen for IndoPak friendship.
Umesh Bhagwat
Jul 16, 2012 10:05am
India and Pakistan have to change with the times!
Usman Kiani
Jul 20, 2012 02:05pm
India says hafiz saeed is master mind of mumbai terror attacks...where Hillary clinton is puting the bounty of one million to provide hafiz saeed is a terrorists...why dont india gave proves to Hillary and get one million and put hafiz saeed behind the bars too...two birds with one stone?
Usman Kiani
Jul 20, 2012 02:01pm
I never ever understand one thing...lets suppose that pakistan is behind each and every terror attack in india and in Afghanistan...than who the hell is supporting, funding and supplying the weapons to those terrorists who have killed 30,000 pakistanies including 3000 army soldiers?....
Ibrahim Shamsi
Jul 16, 2012 01:33pm
Ramesh, We appreciate your thought and have alot of love for Indians just liek for all our neighbors...........We know that most of the people in India want peace and want all these issues resolved......
Pakistan
Jul 16, 2012 08:26am
Good for Sub-continent...
@mandeepch
Jul 16, 2012 09:01am
chanting the same old songs........nothing new. They are lossing credibility worlwide, when the whole world knows their illict role in conducting mumbai attack but still pak is in denial mode.
latif
Jul 16, 2012 09:04am
Pakistanis were forced to this situation because of the changing situation. It is not the change of heart,never mind, better late than never.
kedar
Jul 16, 2012 02:56pm
while the direction is good ... the problem on both sides is that of trust...we dont trust them and they dont trust us..so good words and work could have limited effects if the trust factor is missing
Tariq
Jul 16, 2012 03:34pm
Both India and Pakistan need to move forward in all aspects while there will be hawks on both sides who will wish it to the contrary but these are in a tiny minority! People to people contact is the real test of warmth and friendship that will open and win the hearts and the minds of both nations and when you this level of trust then nothing stands in the way!
SKChadha
Jul 16, 2012 03:35pm
Ibrahim Brother, problem is not about normal citizenry. It is with establishment and their agenda of sponsoring or not acting against terrorism on other soils. Enough words have spoken .... now it is time to act and act fast. There is no taker world over of double speak. Information Technology help us on both sides to see, interpret and realize the facts. True .... we have no alternative except peace.
Shankar
Jul 16, 2012 03:37pm
I know our two countries have to live in peace, but I am afraid there is still a lot of mistrust and hatred! I am very cautiously optimistic! We have a long distance to go before we turn SAARC into a Europe! May God give us the courage and large heart to forget the past and embrace peace! We owe it our future generations!
FellaIndian
Jul 16, 2012 04:27pm
Time to look forward, that is the only way forward. Jo raat gai woh baat gai. Can't do anything about the past, at somepoint we have to forget the past and move forward.
Rick . y
Jul 16, 2012 05:56pm
There is so much potential for prosperity with peace for both countries. I hope and pray for a long lasting friendship .
Junaid
Jul 17, 2012 04:45am
India has been very uncooperative everytime Pakistan tried to help with investigation of terrorism or any other matter concerning the relations between the two countries. Investigation of Sumjhota incident continues since 2007, without any result. Now they are trying to lure Pakistani Investors to invest in India. It will kill two birds in one shot. 1) They will have local Pakistanis (Investors) interested in better Indian economy and 2) they ( Pakistani Investors) will pressure their own government to bow down to Indian demands to save their own investments. Despite the better relations now, i would be very apprehensive, and think of worst scenarios before making any large investment in that country as Pakistani. In last 60 years we have seen sudden /radical changes in relations overnight. What if you have millions invested in that country and India decides to revoke your visa overnight? Therefore don't be fooled by lures you are offered in this new improvement.
desi
Jul 17, 2012 03:21pm
To all of my Indian brothers,it will take this type of attitude to resolve the old issues,I thank you for your neutral approach without pointing fingers.The truth is,like they say,it takes to hands to clap.The feelings are mutual whether you are Indian or Pakistani.I have heard numerous stories from my friends visiting India and the public is fascinated when they hear that they were from Pakistan,just like when Indians visit Pakistan.Not too long ago a delegation of school children visited Pakistan,nervous,scared and armed with the negative image of Pakistan,sure,how can you blame them,to their surprise,they were amazed and blown away by the treatment,several said,what we have always heard about Pakistan is not true at all(their words)So the point I'm trying to make is,we as Pakistanis and Indians promote peace,Bollywood stars often speak out about it.It is high time that our governments start listening and stop blaming eachother.Lets be honest,neither one of the government is the victim,there are dark sides to both of them,its the people who suffer,its the people who die,its the people who are misplaced,not the politicians,they simply make a call and head home.Let there be peace,Pakistan and India can be a role model for the entire world to see and learn from.Wishful thinking you may say,but,every big step starts with an unrealistic and small wish or an idea.
Muhammad Sheikh
Jul 17, 2012 09:00pm
With all due respect, Pakistan has gained absolutely nothing from the Mumbai Terror Attacks other than derailed peace talks with India, intense global criticism, and vast amount of the judiciary's time wasted on the cost of the tax payers. Before the average Indian puts up their shield of self-defense and criticize Pakistan, despite it being a natural human instinct to be defensive and protective I urge everyone to take a step back and think for a moment as to who exactly benefited from those attacks. Pakistan certainly did not.
Muhammad Sheikh
Jul 17, 2012 09:00pm
Now, as far as Peace is concerned, it is my hope that the masses of India and Pakistan both realize that Peace between them will only result in a much more economically powerful South Asia. As Manmohan Singh once said, "I dream of a day, while retaining our respective identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore, and dinner in Kabul." --- I sincerely hope that one day this will become a reality.
Rajendra M. Parikh
Jul 18, 2012 06:15pm
Dear readers, All these CBM's are meaningless unless Pakistan brings the culprits to justice. They (Pakistani government) should not waste time to make all excuses. There is an enough evidence to put them behind bars. They should not be allowed to rome free. Thanks Rajendra M. Parikh Arlington, Texas USA
R.K. Singh
Jul 20, 2012 04:38am
I have lived in Burma (now Myanmar), Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I have many Pakistani Muslim friends,I have always find them very sincere and friendly. I am Hindu but I do respect other religions and faith, I greet them for their holy celebrations and they greet me for Hindu festivals. My parents and grand parents were born and brought-up in Punjab (now Pakistan) they always mentioned that those day Hindu's, Sikh's and Muslims used to live like brothers like a same family, I agree with both Nash (USA) and FellIaIndian that its Time to look forward and Bashir makes a great envoy. PAKISTAN-INDIA bhai- bhai Pakistan Jindabad @ India Jindabad