'No longer backdoor contacts with India'
There are no longer backdoor contacts with India to resume the long-stalled talks between the two nuclear neighbours, the national security adviser said.
The contacts, according to Dr Moeed Yusuf, have been abandoned because New Delhi failed to take any confidence-building measures, mainly the reversal of its August 2019 move on Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
"It's over now," Yusuf said in an interview with a private TV channel, saying it was New Delhi that approached Islamabad for resumption of talks.
"It was India that approached us. They (New Delhi) said they wanted to talk on all disputed issues, including on Kashmir," he said without specifying the time period and location of the contact.
"We clearly conveyed them our demand i.e. reversal of Aug. 2019 move, for resumption of talks," he went on to say.
On August 5, 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its constitution, scrapping the country’s only Muslim-majority state with its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, it locked the region down, detained thousands of people, imposed movement restrictions and enforced a communications blackout, according to Amnesty International.
Islamabad, in turn, suspended trade ties and downgraded diplomatic relations with New Delhi.
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"Since they [the Indian government] haven't done anything [favourable] in this regard, so it's over now," he said, foreseeing "no change" in India's stance on the August 2019 move.
"India is trapped in IIOJK after taking this step. It's in their own interest to reverse it," he further argued.
Commenting on the last week's meeting of pro-Indian Kashmiri politicians with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Moeed said New Delhi has failed to convince even its own allies over the controversial IIOJK move.
"They [politicians] too openly demanded the revocation of the August 2019 step and asked Prime Minister Modi to talk to Pakistan [over the Kashmir issue]," he contended.
The top intelligence officials of the two nuclear-armed neighbours reportedly met in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January in an attempt to stem heightened tensions between the two sides.
In April, UAE's Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba confirmed that Abu Dhabi was mediating between New Delhi and Islamabad to help reach a “healthy and functional” relationship.
Addressing a virtual session with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Otaiba said his country had a role in the recent ceasefire at the Line of Control (LoC) which could get relations back to a “healthy level.”
In March, the two militaries agreed to honour the 2003 ceasefire along the LoC, followed by an exchange of letters between the two premiers, which was widely viewed as an outcome of the reported backdoor diplomacy.