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Pakistan not interested in joining talks ‘for the heck of it’, says Basit

Updated Oct 10, 2016 09:09am


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NEW DELHI: Even as he underlined the significance of talks with India, Pakis­tan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit has said Islamabad doesn’t want dialogue with New Delhi “just for the heck of it”.

He said it was high time the two countries moved from symbolism to substance.

In an interview to the Times of India, he also said that while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was firmly in charge, the Pakistan Army had an important role to play in Islamabad’s India policy. In response to a question about an impasse in talks between Pakistan and India, Mr Basit said: “We do not have any impasse as far as the framework for dialogue is concerned.

“The two countries agreed in December 2015, when Sushma Swaraj sahiba travelled to Islamabad for the Heart of Asia conference, on the framework. That is a balanced and comprehensive framework.... Now the question is how to start the process.

“Whenever that dialogue process begins, it has to be on the basis of the agreement we were able to have in December last year.”

See: Pakistan and India's 2015 journey: From nightmare to 'breakthrough'

Mr Basit said that in matters concerning India, Afghanistan and other security-related issues “obviously our army or military has an important role to play. It has important inputs to give”.

“So to expect that it will not have any role in Pakistan’s India policy or Afghanistan policy and other such issues is incorrect,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that PM Nawaz Sharif is the elected head of the government. Period. He is in the driving seat. The rest is our decision-making process.

“Do you believe India can have a Pakistan policy without consulting its armed forces or the US can have a Pakistan or Afghanistan policy without consulting Pentagon?”

Asked if Pakistan and India were moving towards a full-blown conflict, the diplomat said he would not like to think along those lines.... “I would never entertain such thoughts.”

In reply to a question about the “surgical strikes” that the Indian forces claimed to have carried out in Azad Kashmir, he denied them and said: “I can assure you that had there been any surgical strike, Pakistan would have responded immediately and proportionately. And we do not need time for preparation.”

But he said he tended to agree with the analysts who were asking for “such serious terms to be not used so loosely because of the inherent dangers in doing that”.

Asked why Pakistan was “reluctant” to investigate the evidence on the Uri attack in India-held Kashmir that New Delhi was willing to provide to Islamabad, Mr Basit said: “We have already suggested an international probe to ensure we have conclusive and irrefutable findings. Our offer is still there... because we need to get out of this blame game.”

When he was asked to name the reasons why Prime Minister Sharif called militant leader Burhan Wani a martyr, Mr Basit said: “Are you suggesting that the hundreds of thousands who came out for his funeral were supporting a terrorist? Over 100 people have been killed, more than 14,000 injured since July 9. Were they also terrorists?

“If you look at the Kashmiri struggle through the prism of terrorism, you would arrive at the wrong conclusion. Do you want to declare all people of J&K terrorists? This is an indigenous movement as has been proved time and again.

"Both the countries have agreed since 1947... from the UN resolutions to December 2015 joint statement, that this is a dispute, or core dispute, which needs to be resolved.”

He said Pakistan found it difficult to understand why India was not serious in addressing the dispute. “Even the Simla Agreement mentions that this dispute has to be resolved. But how can we resolve the issue without talking?”

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2016


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Comments (47) Closed

faisal Oct 10, 2016 09:15am

As long as India suggests there is no issue in Kashmir and nothing to be solves this saga will continue. I wish both can find a balanced solution that is also fair for Kashmiri people

Mohit (US) Oct 10, 2016 09:17am

Absolutely agree.. please dont talk to waste tax money of both the countries.. also i wonder what your job is if no relevant dialogues are happening.. shouldnt you really go back to Pak where you can do something productive..

Jawad Oct 10, 2016 09:22am

Excellent representation, Well done Mr. Basit.

Baksh Oct 10, 2016 09:23am

Absolutely agree. We should leave eachother for atleast 10-15 years even without any diplomatic relations. No talking to, and about, eachother.

Nadeem Oct 10, 2016 09:32am

This man is a gem

faisal Oct 10, 2016 09:32am

@Mohit (US) so the two countries should break off diplomatic relations?

Azhar Khan Oct 10, 2016 09:32am

Kudos Mr ambassador

Babu Oct 10, 2016 09:34am

I don't think there is any space for substantial talks at the moment when warmongers of both sides are on rampage at social media, print media and electronic media. So better wait for a better oppurnity.

Desi Dimag Oct 10, 2016 09:46am

Better stop poking each other and concentrate on internal matters.

D.K. PAMNANIK Oct 10, 2016 09:47am

Let us wait so that present atmosphere become cold and than we can talk for the betterment/development of both countries. We should always talk about trade, development and not Kashmir. Please do not have agenda of Kashmir in Any talk. LOC should be considered as International Border.

Dev Oct 10, 2016 09:59am

Phatankot is the result after every substance steps by India.

Dream Oct 10, 2016 10:05am

There is no solution which is acceptable to all.... neither India nor Pakistan will be flexible.... ppl have to suffer....

Jamal Oct 10, 2016 10:07am

I think there is no invitation for talks from India. Nobody can forever be in denial and nobody can fool others forever.

dawn Oct 10, 2016 10:10am

He is right. Now Pakistan does not need any dialogue with India over Kashmir since People of Kashmir has shown that they are capable of escalating and resolving this issue on their own. All Pakistan needs to do is keep backing them up until this issue is reached to its logical resolution. Pakistan now needs to concentrate more on expanding its economy and create stronger ties with other countries

Moderator Oct 10, 2016 10:34am

@D.K. PAMNANIK why not Kashmir ? first it has to be resolved then any talk can happen

jdd Oct 10, 2016 10:43am

@faisal why not...

TQ Oct 10, 2016 10:42am

Excellent response by Mr. Basit. Dialogue is the only option but not just for the sake of a dialogue, but a constructive one which bring postive results and help people of Kashmir to enjoy the wonderful life we have.

If we call ourselves humans, then we need to think others are also human and make important decisions based on that.

Life is too short, enjoy and let others also enjoy and have fun.

Bharat Kumar Jaiswal Oct 10, 2016 10:50am

Real issue of Kashmir is greed for power. I tell you one incident while talking to one of my Kashmiri Hindu friend from Kashmir he wished Kashmir become a free nation. I just surprised. But he.explain in India they don't have any scope to progress. When a new nation in Build we kashmiri get lots of opportunities.

Jitendraa Singh Oct 10, 2016 11:05am

This is talking of a politician...not of a diplomat.

auginpk Oct 10, 2016 12:54pm




SDA Oct 10, 2016 12:57pm

Bravo Mr. Basit. Well said.

Jamil Oct 10, 2016 01:37pm

@D.K. PAMNANIK The Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved first before anything else.

Anil Oct 10, 2016 01:58pm

@Jamil ok

Bella Roma Oct 10, 2016 02:07pm

Very sensible comments High Commissioner

Mohammad arif khawaja Oct 10, 2016 03:13pm

Mr.Basit.High commissioner of Pakistan in India is an intelligent diplomat.

shami Oct 10, 2016 03:26pm

@Bharat Kumar Jaiswal then do free them. We dont have any problem if kashmir become an independent country

Analysis Oct 10, 2016 03:51pm

Thats what India has been talking about. Some substantial evident action against the named people. Come on. Definitely it cannot be empty talks. Thats what India is asking for.

Iftikhar Husain Oct 10, 2016 04:11pm

The suggestions are very practical and sensible I hope the Indian government comes to a fruitful talks as soon as possible.

Aziya Oct 10, 2016 04:21pm

Makes total sense

Philanthropic Oct 10, 2016 04:21pm

Well said ambassador.thumbs up

Ayub Oct 10, 2016 05:28pm

There is nothing new in his statement. It is the repetition of Pakistan's official position on Kashmir.No break -through can be possible if the things stand as it is.

Khan Oct 10, 2016 05:47pm

No talks, good idea. Let both countries live their lives separately

satyan israni Oct 10, 2016 05:56pm

@faisal i agree with u.. there has to be mature discussion between pakistan and india on all issues including terrorism and kashmir.. talks are the only way forward..

Rahul Oct 10, 2016 08:03pm

@Mohit (US) tell that to indian ambassadoras well

M Akram Oct 10, 2016 08:17pm

Excellent someone has the courage to say it as it is. But we need a proper Foreign Minister fully focused on foreign affairs to have a joined up view Pakistan's relationship with other countries. What is our PM afraid off surely the country is not short of talent.

prof@UK Oct 10, 2016 08:29pm

India does not seem to want international mediation. India does not accept Pakistan's positions. What is left?

Last Word Oct 10, 2016 08:37pm

A healthy discussion is going on in Pakistan that militancy should be discarded to solve Kashmir problem as it has isolated Pakistan. India would welcome the change in mindset as and when it happens which will facilitate dialogue process.

saber Oct 10, 2016 08:47pm

Good job Basit....

S Shah Oct 10, 2016 08:56pm

No talks for the sake of talks. India has never been interested in to resolve the Kashmir issue. When India is under pressure they start saying let us talk. Then India stages a drama and walkout of talks. In case Pakistan and India comes to the table for talk, India says Kashmir is the integral part of India. No point of talks.

Ajit Das Oct 10, 2016 08:59pm

Abdul Basit always sends out a negative impression. He is an Ambassador, but hardly speaks the language of friendship and goodwill towards India. This is disappointing. I agree with Mohit. He should go back to Pakistan and do something productive there.

Dr Ramesh K Sharma Oct 10, 2016 09:21pm

@faisal Under the circumstance it is the best option and erect a impregnable wall along India and Pakistan boundary until this mutual hatred subsides between the two countries.

Mohammed Daud Oct 11, 2016 12:17am

Pakistan needs to wake-up; please don’t waste your time and energy inviting India for serious dialogue over Kashmir issue. .Why should India be interested in such talks where there is nothing for her to gain. A business man will never spend his time on something where he does not see some benefits. India will put forward 101 excuses to avoid such talks, that India has been doing for the last 70 years. Moreover the world today is “might is right” India understands it.

Zak Oct 11, 2016 12:36am

Extremely well said and elaborated. India needs to listen.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Oct 11, 2016 02:51am

Excellent and timely statement.

Worth_Commenting Oct 11, 2016 06:22am

@Dr Ramesh K Sharma Wrong Doc. Kashmir is the first issue that needs to be resolved. India cannot run from it and cannot hide like a chicken :) Pakistan and the Kashmiris will not let it run. Mark my words! Have a nice day...

Kochu Krishna Oct 12, 2016 05:36am

It is wastage of precious time. These 2 countries will never 'talk' till their minds are clear. When will they both smile at each other wholeheartedly before they 'talk' ? How far is that day.

TAHIR Oct 13, 2016 07:58am

@Ajit Das, nothing negaative in what he said. He spoke the truth. Let the international agencies come and decide. Dont take truth as a negative force. Accepting truth and talking to each other is the only way forward.