British foreign secretary Philip Hammond on Tuesday urged Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process between the two countries.
“Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a pre-condition for starting the dialogue process,” said Hammond while addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad.
The foreign secretary advised Pakistan to speed up investigation into the Pathankot terror attack. “I welcome Pakistan’s commitment to vigorously pursue the Pathankot attack investigations and we hope the country will make progress in the probe,” he said.
Aziz told Hammond that a joint investigation team was in the process of completing its probe into the attack. “The team will visit India in a few days and hopefully a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries will take place. The Indian High Commissioner has himself stated that foreign secretaries’ meeting is not linked to the Pathankot investigation,” Aziz said.
Aziz also confirmed that his government had shared intelligence with New Delhi about possible terror attacks in India. “Sharing of intelligence among nations of the world is a routine practice and this happens around the world.
However, this time it was somehow leaked to the media. But this showed Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism,” Aziz said.
Hammond also lauded Islamabad’s role in the fight against terrorism. “Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and we want to work with it to take on the threats it faces,” Hammond added.