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Pakistan refuses to comment on 'secret talks'

Pakistan's media arm of the armed forces on Saturday refused to comment on the British media report that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had opened “secret talks” with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in a bid to find solutions to outstanding issues that bedevilled bilateral relations.

Asked to comment on the report, by a group of Indian journalists visiting the country on the invitation of the Pakistan government, Director-General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Athar Abbas said on Saturday: “I decline to comment.” To a question whether he was denying the veracity of the report, Major General Abbas repeated: “I decline to comment.”

The British daily, The Times, on Saturday reported that Dr. Singh had appointed an “unofficial envoy” to make contact with General Kayani as it was the Army which had de facto control over Pakistan's foreign policy; especially vis-à-vis India and Afghanistan. Unlike the United States and others, India has always shied away from dealing with the Pakistan Army.

Major General Abbas said it was not lack of intent but absence of capacity — particularly in the judicial system — that was delaying progress in the Mumbai terror attack case. To drive the point home, he said no action had been taken yet against the would-be assassins of former President Pervez Musharraf either.

As to why Pakistan had not conducted operations against terrorists targeting India, he said the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a banned organisation, had been contained.

“We do not have information of its worldwide aspirations or links to the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul.” Pakistan was trying, he said, to contain groups instead of entering into open confrontation with too many of them simultaneously.

Asserting that no ISI official was involved in the Mumbai attacks, Major General Abbas sought to counter the allegations of the agency's continuing links with terrorist groups by pointing out that the Army and the ISI themselves had come under attack.




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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 9:34:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Pakistan-refuses-to-comment-on-secret-talks/article14695617.ece

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