Pakistan set to propose foreign secretary talks

Published: August 18, 2015
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Govt mulls over agenda of Aug 23 NSA meeting. PHOTO: PID

Govt mulls over agenda of Aug 23 NSA meeting. PHOTO: PID

ISLAMABAD: 

Islamabad is expected to push for foreign secretary level talks in the upcoming meeting of the national security advisers (NSA) of Pakistan and India on August 23.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a brainstorming session with his core committee on Monday to mull over what to keep on the agenda of the NSA talks and what to leave for the foreign secretary level meeting.

The two-hour session was also attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PM’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi.

Read: Pakistan, India talks face new hurdles as expectations diverge

Before the security adviser’s departure to India, another meeting is expected to be convened with the military leadership to finalise the agenda of the NSA talks.

A source said the premier’s meeting also discussed the Afghanistan situation after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s presser against Pakistan.

“Moreover, Nisar and Dar briefed PM Nawaz on security matters, especially in the wake of Punjab Home Minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada’s murder on Sunday, and domestic political challenges, including MQM lawmakers’ resignation from the assemblies and the ongoing talks between the JUI-F and MQM leadership on the issue.”

Determining the agenda

Aziz will visit New Delhi on August 23 for dialogue with his counterpart Ajit Doval. India had proposed August 23-24 for the meeting in line with an agreement between Premier Nawaz and his counterpart Narendra Modi in Russia last month.

The attack on a police station in Gurdaspur, located in the Indian state of Punjab, on July 27 delayed the immediate resumption of talks.

A source said the premier’s meeting mulled over if Aziz should bring up head-on the issue of the bail of the main accused in the 2007 Samjhota Express bombing as well as of India’s alleged involvement in the Balochistan insurgency during his meeting with Doval.

“The federal government will opt for one of the two possibilities: either Aziz will bring up head-on the issues of Samjhota Express, Balochistan, ceasefire violations at the LoC, firing at the Working Boundary and other terrorism-related issues or he will focus mainly on how to resume the talks at the foreign secretary level and leave the issues for that meeting.”

Regarding trade issues, the source said Dar believed that if Pakistan is unable to grant MFN status to India, then it should at least display some softness on trade issues with its neighbour. “The meeting agreed that trade issues should be discussed at the foreign secretary level.”

As for India’s concerns, Pakistan believes that Doval would bring up the slow pace of the 2008 Mumbai attacks trial and the bail of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the suspected mastermind of the attacks. India might also bring up the Gurdaspur police station attack.

Sources said New Delhi’s main focus would be on punishing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and Pakistan would stress on handing over sufficient evidences.

About the outcome of the NSA talks, Islamabad believes that the diplomatic environment is not too charged, so expectation of any major news is low.

Balochistan unrest

Premier Nawaz held a separate meeting with Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, National Party chief Mir Hasil Bizenjo and SAFRON Minister Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch to discuss the unrest in the province.

Read: Sartaj Aziz to visit India for talks on August 23

The meeting also discussed the ongoing talks with Baloch insurgents as well as Sanaullah Zehri’s recent meetings with the Khan of Kalat in London.

According to the PM House, the meeting also reviewed progress on development projects and the ‘Pur Amn (Peaceful) Balochistan’ programme, which was approved and launched during the premier’s previous visit to Quetta.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (13)

  • mahakaalchakra
    Aug 18, 2015 - 8:59AM

    I thought the agenda of the NSA meeting to be held at Delhi had already been agreed to and signed by both Prime Ministers Sharif and NAMO in Ufa, Russia.

    Oh I forgot. There is another Sharif, the established super Prime Minister in one of the country who has the final say in all things neighborly and Johri.

    Let us wait and see NAMO yaa na MANO.Recommend

  • Prakash
    Aug 18, 2015 - 9:14AM

    No Kashmir? We can really expect some results from the talks then.Recommend

  • Aug 18, 2015 - 10:12AM

    After Modi’s new UAE game plan I think its about time Pakistan thought about discontinuing all relations with India. They have been conspiring against us since Independence, about time we end this relationship if there is any.Recommend

  • James
    Aug 18, 2015 - 10:39AM

    @Shahid:

    Same feeling on this side of the border as well….Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Aug 18, 2015 - 11:03AM

    Pakistan is force to reckon with in all fronts! Be ready India we coming to Delhi with purpose. India could not get a seat in Security Council until now and the propaganda stunts in Middle East will also die-down with time on Pakistan’s choosing.

    Good branding is not enough it is actual product that matter and Pakistan is the product which sells the most.

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Aug 18, 2015 - 11:06AM

    During foreign secretary meeting just there will be excellent dress show and photo session with Indian secretary and as usual this statement will be given on the end that both countries emphasized on the continuation of peace talks because Kashmir issue shall be still unresolved by the Indian leadership and only terrorism issue shall be raised from the Indian leadership in the this foreign secretary meeting….Recommend

  • joy
    Aug 18, 2015 - 11:46AM

    @ A Peshawary: Sir, I fully agree with you. See Pakistan is a product of which most of the world is in awe. I happened to talk to some Pakistanis during my various tours abroad as to why they seek asylum in Europe and USA. And Sir, you know what they told me> They said Pakistan is a country which should have been on Mars and we, ( they) are mediocre and dont fit into the highly developed society of our home country. Hence, they seek asylum in mediocre nations.
    regardsRecommend

  • Aug 18, 2015 - 1:20PM

    @James:
    Lets hope that day comes.Recommend

  • Arif
    Aug 18, 2015 - 1:55PM

    We would like to pretend we are not interested in talks with India but now we are going to beg for foreign secretary level talks? It looks like fooling the public with empty rhetoric? Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Aug 18, 2015 - 2:18PM

    @joy:
    Indians scarify their nationality for better future more than any other country in the world. They don’t like the country on their own sweet will (out of economic compulsions). Whereas Asylum seekers are forced to leave the country due to persecution imposed by outsider. Isn’t’ it sir?

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Jalaludin Akbar
    Aug 18, 2015 - 5:49PM

    Useless exercise, Please refrain from it.Recommend

  • Anon
    Aug 18, 2015 - 6:06PM

    Waste of time for both parties. Maybe they don’t have anything else to do.
    As always they will end up in a fruitless result. Both countries armies won’t let peace established between both countries just to keep their pockets filled.Recommend

  • Aam Admi Bechara
    Aug 18, 2015 - 10:11PM

    There’s daily incidents of cross border and inside Pakistan terrorism by

    india and this corrupt government headed by a trader is dying to

    crawl at indians’ feet so trader leader’s trader son’s

    business interests ion india could be securedRecommend

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