Pakistan Rangers chief Major General Umar Farooq Burki arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday with a message from his bosses in Islamabad that India should stay away from media propaganda and use official channels instead to take up issues, sources told HT.
Burki will sit across DK Pathak, his counterpart in the Indian border security force (BSF) for three days from Thursday onwards to discuss a host of contentious issues between the two forces.
This is the first high-level interaction between the two countries after national security adviser-level talks to be held in Delhi on August 23-24 were cancelled as Pakistan insisted on a meeting with Kashmiri separatists.
According to Pakistani diplomatic sources, Burki will convey a message that India should stay from media propaganda against Pakistan. New Delhi should use official channels to take up issues with Pakistan rather than using the media, the sources added.
Aware of Islamabad’s sensitivity on the issue, when the 16-member Pakistani delegation arrived in India from the Attari border around 12.30 pm, the BSF banned media coverage of the event.
BSF officials had indicated beforehand that there would be no media interaction with the Pakistani delegation but they even barred photographers from going to the zero line.
Media personnel were stopped at the customs gate and special barricading was erected to stop them from going further. Sources said the BSF did not want any ‘‘embarrassing’’ questions being put to the visiting officials on the recent Dinanagar attack in Punjab. The Indian probe has established that terrorists from across the border carried out the attack on July 27.
While the Indian side will take up the issue of repeated ceasefire violations and infiltration, Pakistani diplomatic sources said they would raise the issue too and ask India to uphold the 2003 border ceasefire agreement.
“India should not take measures that are counterproductive in ensuring this pact holds. Pakistan will also raise what it claims as Indian infiltration efforts through Punjab and Rajasthan and the need to stop them.
We would like to involve the United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan when there are claims and counterclaims on who is the aggressor,” a Pakistani official said, requesting anonymity.
However, India maintains that this group has outlived its utility.