NEW DELHI:Even as Pakistan formally conveyed that it will attend the NSA-level talks on August 23, it also undertook diplomatic posturing to dictate the agenda for the discussion -- as evident by the protest lodged by Islamabad over the NIA’s decision to not contest bail for an accused in Samjhauta train bomb blasts and Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit reiterating support for Kashmir issue in a speech to mark the Islamist Republic’s Independence Day.
After announcing on Thursday at a news conference that he will be in Delhi on August 23, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser for National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz summoned Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan to his office on Friday to convey his decision to hold talks with NSA Ajit Doval.
“He (Raghavan) was informed that the Adviser would lead the Pakistan delegation for talks with the NSA of India on 23-24 August, 2015,” said the Pakistan Foreign Office.
At the same time, Raghavan’s junior, J P Singh, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, was getting a scolding from a senior Pakistani diplomat. The Pakistan Foreign Office Director General for South Asia summoned Singh to lodge a protest against the decision of the NIA to not contest the bail granted to Swami Aseemanand on special leave permission. “The Government of Pakistan has serious reservations on the efficiency of the court in processing and disposal of cases regarding terrorism, especially those involving deaths of Pakistani citizens,” said Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson. “The Government of Pakistan expects India to take steps to bring to justice all those involved in the heinous act of terrorism on the Samjhauta Express, in which 42 Pakistani innocent citizens lost their lives,” he added.
So far, the NIA has filed chargesheet against the five accused and trial has commenced. “If they raise Swami Aseemanand, we will tell them that at least he is behind the bars and not free like (26/11 mastermind) Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi,” said an official.
Meanwhile, Basit at a rain-drenched Pak Independence Day function inside the Pakistan Embassy, raised the temperature when he said that his country would never abandon Kashmiri struggle.
“Aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir could neither be ignored nor put on the back burner,” he said.
Dismissing the Pakistani envoy’s remarks, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “The only struggle in J&K is against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. This will be the subject of the upcoming NSA-level talks”.