Even as the Line of Control (LoC) remains tense owing to frequent exchange of fire between the Pakistan and Indian armies, the two countries are engaged in back channel diplomacy. This was confirmed by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Thursday.

At a weekly press briefing, he said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s special envoy Satinder K. Lambah and Pakistan’s point person Shehryar Khan were in touch with each other. But he did not confirm if the two were meeting in Dubai on Thursday, as a news report indicated.

With reference to a possible meeting in New York next month between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, he said, “It has been the position of the government of Pakistan that should an opportunity arise we believe that such a contact between the leadership of two countries will be a useful occasion to discuss the steps required to improve relations between the two countries.”

Mr. Chaudhry expressed concern at alleged ceasefire violations by India along the LoC in the past few weeks. “We have conveyed our concern to the Indian government through the diplomatic channels. Our message to the Indian side has been that tensions along the LoC undermine the peace initiatives of our leadership. We have made some concrete proposals to the Indian side to help reduce the tension along the LoC. The Indian response is awaited,” he said.

On Syria, he said use of force must be avoided at all costs as Syrians had suffered enough. As a non permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, Pakistan had urged all sides to pursue the policy of restraint and engage in a comprehensive political dialogue. It had condemned the alleged use of chemical weapons. “We stress the importance of establishing facts before any precipitate action is taken,” he said adding that the international community should wait for the outcome of the U.N. investigation before any action was taken.

Afghan President visit

While declining to comment on the possible release of Taliban leader Mullah Biradar, he said the visit of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai was successful. As a matter of policy, he pointed out, Pakistan had committed to support whatever was deemed would help advance the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

This was the first formal meeting between the leadership of the two countries after the new government came to power in Pakistan, he said. The country’s leadership had expressed its desire to see a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the spokesperson said. On the situation of Muslims in Myanmar, Thailand or anywhere else, Pakistan, in its national capacity, and as a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference, had always expressed its concern at reports of atrocities on Muslims. “We have also called upon the government concerned to take every possible step to ameliorate the conditions of Muslims, he said.

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