ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said all issues of concern between India and Pakistan were discussed today. He was speaking at a press conference following a meeting with his Indian counterpart.
He said issues ranging from India’s interference in Balochistan, the Samjhota Express case, and the line of control (LoC) ceasefire violations were brought to India’s attention.
“We also raised the issue of delay in the Samjhota Express investigation. No investigation details on the incident have been shared with us by India,” he said.
“Terrorism is not only Pakistan’s concern, but both countries are equally affected by it.”
He said the letter sent by Mr. Modi via Mr. Jaishankar had been handed over to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“We both have an understanding to fight and end terrorism. We are working to find a common ground from where we can start our joint efforts.”
When asked whether the issue of Lakhvi came under discussion, Mr. Chaudhry said, “there wasn’t enough time to go into detail on every issue.”
Mr. Chaudhry made clear that the Indian foreign secretary had come to Pakistan on directives of Narendera Modi, who has asked him to visit all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries.
Mr. Chaudhry said the overall tone of the meeting was positive and that both countries are ready to reflect on matters of importance to them.
Earlier in the day, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House and discussed matters related to Saarc and bilateral ties between the two neighbours.
Nawaz welcomed the meeting between the two foreign secretaries in Islamabad and hoped the process would continue. He underlined the importance of enhanced cooperation among Saarc member states.
Mr. Sharif said it is imperative that the leadership of the two countries rises up to the expectations of the two peoples.
"We must think together, act together and move forward with the spirit of bringing the two nations closer to each other. The two countries should lend a hand of cooperation to each other to improve the standard of living of 1.5 billion people," said Nawaz Sharif.
The Pakistani premier said the South Asian region has suffered enormously due to tensions and unresolved disputes, despite being blessed with enormous resources.
Earlier, Jaishankar also met Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry in Islamabad on Tuesday following his arrival in Pakistan for a two-day official visit.
Credible sources told Dawn that Secretary Chaudhry greeted his Indian counterpart warmly at the Foreign Office.
Senior officials from both sides are assisting in the talks which are the first since New Delhi called them off last year.
During the meeting, both foreign secretaries realised that peaceful dialogue is the only way forward to resolve all outstanding issues, sources told Dawn.
Sources added that Chaudhry drew the Indian secretary's attention to the recent tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary.
Jaishankar said that he was happy to be visiting Pakistan and that he looks forward to having substantial and meaningful negotiations with Pakistani officials.
The primary agenda for the secretaries’ meeting was about promoting regional connectivity and trade even though both sides have an understanding about discussing bilateral matters.
Accompanied by a delegation of diplomats, Jaishankar was welcomed by officials from the Foreign Ministry as well as those from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
Jaishankar is in Pakistan as part of a tour of Saarc countries.
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Indian diplomatic sources told Dawn that Secretary Shankar is on a goodwill visit to Saarc countries and that only Saarc related matters would be discussed by him during his visit.
Islamabad is the third stop in Jaishankar’s Saarc trip that began on Sunday. He earlier visited Bhutan and Bangladesh. He will travel to Kabul from here on Wednesday.
The visit is taking place almost seven months after Delhi cancelled the last planned secretaries’ dialogue in August on the pretext that Pakistani High Commissioner in Delhi Abdul Basit had consulted Kashmiri leaders.
Both sides are to hold what officials have been describing as “talks for talks” (dialogue on resuming suspended talks).
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Bilateral relations discussed with Sartaj Aziz
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on the first day of his two-day visit to Pakistan met the Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.
According to sources, bilateral relations and the security situation in South Asia came under discussion during the meeting.
Jaishankar had earlier met the Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatimi and his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry.
Pakistan to host next Saarc summit
Pakistan will chair the next South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) conference and India would like to work with Pakistan to help Saarc achieve its potential, said the India foreign secretary after his meeting with Aizaz Chaudhry.
"During talks with the Pakistani foreign secretary, I reiterated India's concerns on cross border terrorism, including the Mumbai case," S. Jaishankar told media representatives while reading out a written statement.
He said he was glad to be in Islamabad as part of the Indian Prime Minister’s initiative of a Saarc Yatra.
"I conveyed the expectations of our leadership on Saarc and their determination to forge a cooperative relationship with all our neighbors," Jaishankar said.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ideas and initiatives to take Saarc forward.
"Naturally, my visit provided an opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations and we engaged on each other’s concerns and interests in an open manner," he added.
He also said that both parties have agreed to work together to find common ground and narrow differences as ensuring peace and tranquility on the border was vital.
"Our talks were held in a constructive and positive atmosphere," Jaishankar elaborated.
While briefly talking to media representatives, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam termed the meeting as an ice breaker and said all issues between Pakistan and India came under discussion.