Pakistan Foreign Secretary to visit Delhi for 'Heart of Asia' meet, call on Jaishankar

Will mark the first such meeting since their talks slated for January 14 were derailed by the Pathankot Airbase attack..

April 25, 2016 03:29 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:14 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry (right) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart S.Jaishankar before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad,in this  March 3, 2015 photo. Mr. Chaudhry will meet his IMr. Jaishankar for bilateral talks with their delegations on the sidelines of a conference to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday. The two sides are expected to discuss Pathankot attacks, RAW officer's arrest among others.

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry (right) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart S.Jaishankar before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad,in this March 3, 2015 photo. Mr. Chaudhry will meet his IMr. Jaishankar for bilateral talks with their delegations on the sidelines of a conference to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday. The two sides are expected to discuss Pathankot attacks, RAW officer's arrest among others.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry will meet Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar for bilateral talks with their delegations on the sidelines of a conference to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In a statement from Islamabad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Mr. Chaudhry will hold “bilateral meetings with other leading delegations attending the [Heart of Asia] meeting.” A government source confirmed that those bilateral meetings would include a meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary.

First such meeting

The bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Afghan donor “Heart of Asia” conference of Senior officials will mark the first meeting between the Foreign Secretaries since their talks slated for January 14 were derailed by the Pathankot Airbase attack.

Since then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz had met in Nepal on the sidelines of a preparatory SAARC meeting in Pokhara in March.

During that meeting, the leaders had agreed to a Pakistani team, including the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence, to travel to Pathankot to investigate the attack that had raised sharp criticism from the opposition Congress and Aam Admi Party.

The meeting comes two weeks after Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had claimed Foreign Secretary talks, agreed to by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, in December, were “suspended.”

In the past few days, Mr. Basit has also met with leaders of the Hurriyat including Dukhtaran-e-Millat’s Aasiya Andrabi and separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. However, unlike in the past in August 2014 and 2015, the meetings with the Hurriyat have not caused the government to cancel the talks this time.

RAW officer, Pathankot to figure

While India will raise the Pathankot investigations with the Pakistani delegation, Pakistan is expected to raise the arrest of an alleged Research & Analysis Wing operative and former naval officer, Kulbhushan Yadav, accused of spying and abetting terror in Balochistan. On Monday, Mr. Aziz is expected to address the Pakistani Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee on Mr. Yadav’s arrest.

Significantly, the Pakistani Foreign Secretary is expected to face harsh words from the Afghan delegation at the ‘Heart of Asia’ preliminary conference on Tuesday afternoon, as it is their first meeting since the deadly suicide bombing in Kabul that left more than 60 dead and 300 wounded on April 19.

Ghani lashes out at Pakistan

In a scathing speech in Parliament on Monday, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said he had given up hope that Pakistan would bring Taliban leaders to the talks table, and his government was ready to complain about the lack of action by Pakistan against Taliban terrorists to the United Nations Security Council.

“There are no good or bad terrorists, they are just terrorists,” Mr. Ghani told lawmakers in Kabul, adding “Pakistan must understand that and act against them.”

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