Nawaz, Modi may meet at Russia summit

Published: July 3, 2015
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FO hints at possibility of meeting on the sidelines of SCO. PHOTO: AFP

FO hints at possibility of meeting on the sidelines of SCO. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad has hinted at a possible meet up between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the sidelines of an upcoming regional cooperation summit in Russia.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation, is scheduled to meet in the Russian city of Ufa on July 9 and 10 with both India and Pakistan likely to be granted full-membership of the forum formed in 2001.

“No side has contacted the other for a meeting, but in any multilateral setting, meetings among heads of states are a normal feature,” said Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah at his weekly briefing on Thursday.

If it does take place, the meeting between PM Nawaz  and Modi will be the first high-level contact between the two hyphenated neighbours since August last year.  While hostile anti-Pakistan statements from New Delhi made matters worse, there has been a lull since the Indian PM telephoned his Pakistani counterpart to convey greetings at the start of the holy month of Ramazan.

Read: Indian foreign secretary to visit Pakistan, Modi tells PM Nawaz

In a sign that both countries are trying to create a favourable atmosphere, the FO spokesperson also denied media reports that Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Dr Maliha Lodhi was in Islamabad for consultations with the government to raise the issue of Indian interference in the internal matters of Pakistan at the world body.

“Pakistani permanent representative in New York is in Islamabad for routine consultations. A broad range of issues of Pakistan’s interest at the United Nations is being discussed,” Khalilullah said without making any reference to India. In reply to a question, he said the British authorities had yet to respond to Islamabad’s request seeking access to facts of the recent BBC report on the alleged MQM-India nexus.

Coinciding with the FO’s pro-peace stance was the statement of the Indian home minister, who said India also desired cordial relations with Pakistan.

“I want to say from the depth of my heart that we want good and friendly relations with Pakistan. It is our policy to have cordial relations with all our neighbouring countries, including Pakistan,” Rajnath Singh said while talking to the media in Indian Kashmir.

“If it was not our intention to improve relations with Pakistan, perhaps our prime minister would not have invited Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony in May 2014,” he added. “There will be no let up in our efforts but Pakistan will have to think about it (too). It takes two hands to clap.”

Afghan allegations

The FO spokesperson dismissed Afghanistan’s claims of Pakistan constructing a gate inside the Afghan territory, saying it was being built well within the Pakistani territory.

Read: Nawaz, Modi discuss possible joint efforts for disaster relief

At least two Pakistani soldiers were injured on Wednesday when a rocket-propelled grenade and some rounds of small arms were fired from across the border. The incident is another sign of rising tensions between the two neighbours even though bilateral relations have shown significant improvements in recent months. Khalilullah insisted that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was in Islamabad’s best interest. “Non-interference in internal affairs of Afghanistan is the key pillar of our Afghan policy,” he emphasised.

Zaid Hamid case

Answering a question over the arrest of Zaid Hamid, the FO spokesperson said Pakistan was in contact with the Saudi authorities to verify whether the Pakistani political commentator had been sentenced or not. He also denied reports that Saudi Arabia had refused consular access to Hamid.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2015. 

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Prada
    Jul 3, 2015 - 10:08AM

    What is the point? Every time they meet, the border erupts. Such rapprochement does not sit very well with the men in uniform. Their entire survival is at stake if there is genuine peace. Not so much for India because she still has China to contend with.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 3, 2015 - 10:41AM

    Did any of the meetings changed any thing in 68 years? this won’t either Recommend

  • Allah Ditta
    Jul 3, 2015 - 4:19PM

    There is no point to meet, given the bullying tactics employed by Indian leadership. It is only such bullying that Pakistan had to respond (1948, 65, 71, and 1999). If there is anything that is keeping India away from further acceleration of situation, it is the nuclear capabilities of Pakistan. So my point just ignore them but let them know that Pakistani nuclear weapons are not for any shabraat or Diwali festivals.Recommend

  • rak
    Jul 3, 2015 - 4:47PM

    As many indian and pakistani commentators have said here, it doesnt seem any wiser to talk right now… Its perhaps better to ignore each other at the moment, pakistan should grow economically along with china whil india needs to develop north south corridor with iran and connect central asia through it and then maybe increase economic contact. Pakistan – india will continue to be geographical neighbours but economical they would be poles apart, perhaps then the leadership on both the sides would realise that its almost a futile exercise to ignore each other. nuclear weapons are just for showoff purpose and never should be used, my friends from pakistan should realise that even if pakistan fired its entire battery of weapons still some millions of indians would survive while indian attack would ensure that pakistan’s people would perish, who would gain anything in the end?? noone !! even though we fought for freedom and had idealogical difference which led to forming different nations but one important purpose common to both was prosperity, would brandishing nukes from both the sides help in prosperity??Recommend

  • M.Saeed
    Jul 3, 2015 - 4:51PM

    No need to meet Mody, the born enemy of Muslims who organised killings of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat State during his time as Chief Minister of the state. It was recognized by the US Government as an organised premeditated massacre of Muslims for which a justification was created by engineering Godhra riots. Accordingly, Modi was proscribed and refused entry into the united states for nearly a decade.Recommend

  • nabidad
    Jul 3, 2015 - 5:18PM

    Nawaz Sharif should not meet killer Modi at any level. Recommend

  • Curious
    Jul 3, 2015 - 5:52PM

    @Salman:
    What about Nawaz Sharif and his son’s fraternisation with an Indian tycoon when they went on Modi’s inauguration? Business comes first. Family business that is.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    Jul 3, 2015 - 6:15PM

    @nabidad:
    Modi should not meet genocidal maniac Sharif eitherRecommend

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