NEW DELHI: Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s assertion that Islamabad won’t allow NIA investigators to travel there in connection with the Pathankot terror attack probe flies in the face of India’s expectations. New Delhi had hoped that after the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) visit, a team of NIA investigators would be travelling to Pakistan. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said the NIA had conveyed to the JIT that it would like to send its team to Pakistan.
Reacting to Basit’s remarks, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup referred to the press conference of Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in which he had said, “I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out.”
The Pakistan envoy said there shouldn’t be any doubt that his country wants to have a normal and peaceful relationship with India on the basis of “sovereign equality and mutual interest”, noting there is a national consensus on this in Pakistan. “However, there is no short cut to achieving lasting peace. Nor does cherry-picking work. What we need is to engage uninterruptedly, comprehensively and meaningfully,” he said.
Basit opened his media interaction at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club here with a written statement in which he made a pointed reference to former Indian Naval officer Kulbhushan Yadav, currently in detention in Pakistan on charges of spying.
Yadav’s arrest “irrefutably collaborates what Pakistan has been saying all along”, he charged, alluding to Pakistani claims that India was fomenting trouble in the restive Balochistan province. “We are all aware of those who seek to create unrest in Pakistan and destabilise the country,” the envoy said.
Asked about the possibility of a meeting between foreign secretaries of the two countries which was suspended following the Pathankot attack in January, Basit said no such meeting has been scheduled.
At the same time, he claimed Pakistan would like to have a “comprehensive and meaningful” dialogue with India in order to resolve “all our problems”. “But if India is not ready yet, we can always wait.”