INTERNATIONAL

Indian envoy, Zardari review bilateral ties

Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Satyabrata Pal called on Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday amid the undercurrent of tension, since the Kabul Indian Embassy bombing, that is threatening to undermine the four-year-old peace process between the two countries.

“It was a review of where we stand in the bilateral relationship. We wanted to keep him informed of what we have been discussing in the bilateral context,” Mr. Pal said.

India said earlier this month that the composite dialogue process had come under strain, asserting that it had evidence to show that Pakistan’s ISI was behind the Kabul attack.

The meeting between the Indian envoy and the PPP leader, who is seen as the “real Prime Minister” of Pakistan followed the most serious violation of the 2003 ceasefire on the Line Of Control.

The 16-hour exchange of fire between troops of both sides that began on Monday and continued into the next day resulted in the killing of an Indian soldier. There have been nearly a dozen incidents on the LoC since the beginning of this year, and the frequency has shot up since the PPP-led coalition came to power.

Hours before Mr. Zardari and Mr. Pal met, India levelled fresh charges against Pakistan of violating the truce once again on Wednesday. The accusation was denied by the Pakistan Army spokesman who said no incident had been reported from “anywhere on the Line of Control today [on Wednesday].”

Mr. Pal declined to give details about his meeting with Mr. Zardari, saying only that he “spoke him on the full range of what we are engaged in with his government.”

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