Want to build on positivity of Ufa: Basit

Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit greets Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq during Eid Milan at Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Prashant Nakwe   | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe

>After a week of high tensions between India and Pakistan over firing at the LoC and bitterness over Eid greetings, officials from both sides appeared to be taking the temperature down, with commitments to take the "Ufa meeting" forward. 

Speaking at an Eid Milan function held at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on Tuesday, envoy Abdul Basit said “Pakistan is committed to build on positivity which was reflected in Ufa. We hope that we can make a good beginning."

> Read: Ufa and civil-military relations in Pakistan

His comments came a day after Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar gave a speech referring to the Ufa summit as well, adding, "Our Prime Ministers met a week ago and agreed on steps to counter terrorism and strengthen peace and tranquility on the border. We hope to take that forward." 

In another possibly conciliatory gesture to the Indian government, the Pakistan embassy kept it's Eid function low-key compared to its traditional fanfare and attendance by the Hurriyat and the media. Part of the reason was the decision of separatist leaders like SAS Geelani and others to boycott the event over the lack of reference to Kashmir in the Ufa joint statement. The event was strictly controlled for invitees, and the media allowed in smaller numbers. 

Speaking to The Hindu, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the only visible Hurriyat figure said, "It obviously upsets people that Jammu and Kashmir did not receive a mention when the statement was put out in Ufa, but we see the talks as a positive development that should be taken ahead." 

When asked about the absence of Hurriyat leaders, Mr. Basit denied that there was any boycott. "We miss the leaders who didn't come," he told The Hindu. In comments made to the audience Mr. Basit added, "We all want all issues of importance between Pak and India to be discussed. We hope that very soon our leaders meet and resolve all issues of importance between our two nations.”

While no dates have set for another meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr Sharif, the National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz are expected to meet at a yet to be decided date in Delhi in August, and could discuss a possible meeting of the PMs on the sidelines of the Unga special session in September in New York this year. 

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 2:50:06 AM |

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