New Delhi: Taking a strong exception to Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s statement wherein he accused India of using the Pathankot terror attack as an ‘excuse’ to delay bilateral talks, Defence Expert P.K Sehgal on Saturday asserted that Pakistan wants to continue dialogue with a gun pointed on India’s forehead.
“Sartaj Aziz says that dialogue must continue between India and Pakistan despite Mumbai attack, Pathankot attack, cross border terrorism and cross border firing. In other words, they want us to continue to talk with a gun pointed on our forehead,” Sehgal told ANI.
“Obviously this cannot be accepted. An appropriate climate, conducive to talks, must be created. India has been desperately trying to do that,” he added.
The comments come a day after Sartaj Aziz, stated that New Delhi was using excuses like the Pathankot terror attack to further delay talks with Islamabad on a range of issues crucial to both nations.
Speaking in an interview, Aziz said that the priority for Pakistan has always been improved relations with its neighbours including India, and it remains so because without that, Islamabad’s economic goals and revivals cannot be achieved.
“But of course, it takes two to achieve that objective and India so far has not responded. In one excuse or other, they delay dialogue. In the first case, after Prime Minister Modi’s inaugural ceremony, the two Foreign Secretaries could not meet because the High Commissioner met Kashmiri leaders, and they have been meeting for 20 years, so that was hardly an excuse,” Aziz stated.
Asserting that Pathankot was no grounds for dialogues to be cancelled, Aziz added that talks also include terrorist related activities and both nations can also exchange progress reports on that basis also.
“To that extend, I think we have succeeded. So we will continue to insist and urge that we should resume dialogue on all issues and try to improve out relation both in economic and non economic fields,” Aziz said.
However India today, flatly refused Aziz’s statements saying that it has never shied away from any engagement with the hostile neighbour and is prepared to discuss any issue in an atmosphere free from terror and violence.
“As far as the comments of Sartaj Aziz are concerned, I would say that India has never ever shied away from any engagement with Pakistan and is prepared to discuss all outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally, in an atmosphere free from terror and violence,” Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media.
“After that incident of Pathankot, it was a natural and legitimate acceptation of both the governments and the people of India, that there should be concrete action from Pakistan which has not denied of the involvement of its nationals in the attack,” Swarup added.
Following Prime Minister Modi’s statement where he placed the onus of stalled talks on Pakistan, Sartaj Aziz has claimed that New Delhi was avoiding dialogue with Islamabad to avoid negotiations on crucial issues such as Kashmir. (ANI)