Pak-India secretary level talks to be held soon: FO

ISLAMABAD – Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said on Thursday that the foreign secretary level talks between Pakistan and India would be held in near future and both the sides were in touch in this regard.

The secretary level talks between the two nuclear – armed neighbours were expected to start in mid-January but were rescheduled in view of the Pathankot Indian Air Base terror attack.

Pakistan had condemned the terror incident which killed three Indian security personnel. Pakistan had assured help to probe into the tragedy. “The meeting is going to be held in near future and both the sides remain in touch in this regard,” he told a regular weekly briefing at the Foreign Office while responding to a question.

To a question about any information about sending a team to Pathankot, he said that the Ministry of Interior should be contacted on an issue relating to an investigation into the incident.

To another question about the just-concluded visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia and Iran, the spokesman said that the purpose of the visit was to reduce tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran and both the sides have given a positive response as had been indicated by the prime minister in his talk with media in Tehran on Tuesday.

The FO spokesperson told that Pakistan was keeping in touch with both Riyadh and Tehran on the matter of appointment of focal persons. He added that there was nothing more to share with you in this regard. During Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the two brotherly countries, bilateral issues were also discussed.

To a question about sanctuaries of terrorists in Afghanistan especially in view of reports that the terrorists who stormed Bacha Khan University in Charsadda on Wednesday killing 21 people were receiving calls from across the border, he said that it would not be proper to reach any conclusion until the investigations were complete.

“We maintained contact with Afghanistan at various levels and had been raising the issues of Islamabad’s concern with the Afghan leadership,” he said. He referred to the Heart of Asia conference which was attended among others – by Afghan president Ashraf Ghani during which all these matters came up for discussion. He said that the Pakistan’s policy towards Kabul was to promote peace and reconciliation which was in the interest of Pakistan.

He said that the two meetings of the Quadrilateral Group comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and China had already taken place while the third meeting would be held in Islamabad on Feb 6. He added that this group was set up to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

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