Pakistan will attend the Heart of Asia conference to be hosted by India in December to boost development in Afghanistan, foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz said on Monday.
The move by Islamabad appears to be aimed at countering efforts by India to isolate Pakistan on the international stage over the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
Aziz, the adviser on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Pakistan will participate in the regional meet to be held in Amritsar during December 3-4. “Pakistan will continue to attend all international forums,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News channel.
India launched a move to isolate Pakistan over the issue of terrorism after an attack on an army camp at Uri in Kashmir in September that was blamed on the Jaish-e-Mohammed. Troops of the two countries have traded fire on the Line of Control and India carried out surgical strikes that it says resulted in “significant casualties”.
Pakistan has denied the surgical strikes and instead raised alleged rights violations by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. The tensions had sparked speculation about Pakistan’s participation in the Heart of Asia conference, which will be attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Aziz did not give details about who would represent Pakistan at the Heart of Asia meet. The last two Heart of Asia meets – in Islamabad in December 2015 and in New Delhi in April this year – were attended by the foreign ministers and foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan and they also held talks on the sidelines.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Aziz had agreed on a roadmap for a comprehensive dialogue process in December 2015 but the initiative fizzled out after a terror attack on the Pathankot airbase in January.
Aziz also told Geo News that India should allow a UN observer group to visit Jammu and Kashmir. “India has continuously been violating UN resolutions on Kashmir,” he said.
He further said dossiers on Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer arrested in Balochistan, were in the “final phase of preparation”. Pakistan will hand over these dossiers to the UN and other states, he added.