India-Pakistan talks suspended, not cancelled: Aziz

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In yet another damage control effort following Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit’s remarks that India-Pakistan talks had been suspended, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz said dialogue with India had not been cancelled, just suspended. Mr Aziz said that Mr Basit’s comments that the bilateral peace process was “suspended” did not mean “cancelled or given up” and hoped that the India-Pakistan dialogue will resume soon. “There has been nothing in the past four months, and so, to that extent, dialogue is suspended, but I hope it will resume soon,” Mr Aziz said in an interview to a TV channel.

Mr Aziz also said that Mr Basit’s alleged denial was an “over-interpretation” of his statement that “the investigations are about cooperation, not reciprocity”. “I don’t think he used that word. He said that right now cooperation is more important than that of reciprocity and does not exclude option and he said that let’s cooperate and then thing will work out,” Mr Aziz said in the interview. The Pathankot attacks had stalled the peace process between the two countries and the latest development following Mr Basit’s remarks has resulted in a new low in the diplomatic ties between both the countries.

Mr Aziz also indicated that his country may consider a request by India for a visit by its NIA team to further probe the Pathankot terror strike, days after top Pakistani envoy ruled out the same. In a response to a question on whether Pakistan will allow India’s National Investigation Agency to visit Pakistan to probe Pathankot attack, Mr Aziz said that “once the stage is reached…India makes a request and then we will see”.

Earlier, Mr Basit said in New Delhi that no meeting was scheduled for now and the present the peace process had been suspended. He had said that the Pakistani’s team’s visit was not based on reciprocity. The Pakistani envoy’s remarks had not played down well with New Delhi.

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