Pakistan refuses back-door diplomacy to address tensions: Report
The Express Tribune quoted unnamed officials saying Pakistan has made it clear that it would only engage with India through quiet or conventional diplomacy after New Delhi was persuaded to meet conditions like lifting curfew and other restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).Updated: Sep 17, 2019 08:41 IST
Pakistan has refused to engage in back-door diplomacy with India after some “powerful countries” as well as Muslim states sought it to de-escalate tensions between the two neighbours over Kashmir, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported on Monday.
The daily reported that a request for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to tone down his attacks on his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, too, was turned down.
The Express Tribune quoted unnamed officials saying Pakistan has made it clear that it would only engage with India through quiet or conventional diplomacy after New Delhi was persuaded to meet conditions like lifting curfew and other restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
The restrictions were imposed on August 5 as the Centre abrogated Constitution’s Article 370 that gave J&K a measure of autonomy and split the state into two Union territories.
The paper reported that Saudi deputy foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, and UAE foreign minister, Abdullah bin al-Nahyan, travelled together to Islamabad on September 3 with a message on behalf of their leadership as well as some other “powerful countries” urging Pakistan to engage in back-channel diplomacy with India.
The two met Khan and Pakistani army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during their day-long trip.
“The discussions were so confidential that only top officials of the [Pakistani] foreign ministry were allowed to sit in those meetings,” an unnamed official told the paper.
The official added al-Jubeir and al-Nahyan conveyed their willingness to play a role in defusing tensions between Pakistan and India. One of the proposals on the table was to encourage both countries to hold back-door talks.
The paper reported while the international interlocutors were willing to persuade India to ease some of the restrictions in J&K, they requested Pakistan to stop targeting Modi.
Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal last week said there was no back-door diplomacy underway with India to normalise the situation.
The paper said that Pakistan’s tougher stance is aimed at capitalising the “positive momentum” it has gained in Kashmir diplomacy. The opinion within the power corridors is that Pakistan should continue with this approach during the upcoming UN General Assembly session in New York, it added.
First Published: Sep 16, 2019 23:51 IST