Pakistan denies backchannel talks with India

Islamabad: Pakistan has stopped short of categorically denying its involvement in some kind of backchannel talks with India though Islamabad has been insisting publicly that New Delhi should create an “enabling environment” for “meaningful dialog”.

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry at the weekly press briefing was asked by several journalists about reported backchannel talks with India.

Instead of rejecting it, he said: “States have their ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars. Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important.”

He added that the real issue was what should be discussed between the two countries and how the dialogue could be made meaningful and result-oriented dialog.

“As for talks, Pakistan has never shied away from talks with India and has always maintained for the need of a ‘meaningful dialog’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said, adding that durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

But to keep up the public posturing, he once again asked India to create a proper environment for talks.

In New Delhi, asked about media reports that backchannel talks between India and Pakistan were going on for more than a year, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi did not give a direct reply.

“If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication,” Bagchi said.

India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighborly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

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