The Congress said on Saturday that Pakistan has realised that they are at fault for the block in bilateral talks with India, and that’s why they are making excuses by putting onus on New Delhi for it.
“I think Sartaj Aziz is a little late in saying all these things. These things could have been said when the foreign secretary-level talks between the two nations had failed. At that time, Pakistan said something else,” Congress leader Meem Afzal told ANI.
“In fact they are giving excuses and have realised that they are at fault. It would be interesting to see as to what kind of relations should be maintained with Pakistan. The onus is on the government and they have to answer on this front,” he added.
The comments from the Congress come a day after Sartaj Aziz, adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on foreign affairs, 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 during 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 on Saturday, 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 spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
“After the 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.
In an interview to Times Now, Prime Minister Modi had said that due to his diplomatic efforts, India was not reluctant to engage with Pakistan.