Aziz to attend Heart of Asia moot in India

WEB DESK : Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will attend Heart of Asia and Istanbul Process Conference, being held in India next month, as “an opportunity” to defuse the tension. “

This is a good opportunity for defusing tension as the fundamental fact is that India has sabotaged the multilateral process, the SAARC Summit, for the sake of bilateral relations [with Pakistan]. We want to prove that the multilateral process of Heart of Asia is basically for Afghanistan, which is our priority,” the Adviser told reporters after addressing a seminar titled ‘FATA Reforms – Transforming and Securing Pakistan.’

He said that he himself would participate in the Conference which is scheduled for December 04, 2016 in Amritsar city of Indian Punjab state. To a question about possibility of holding any meeting with his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the conference in India, he said that it was premature to give any indication of a possible sideline meeting, adding that any meeting depends on the situation there.

When asked whether or not his visit to India for attending the Conference would affect the Kashmir cause, Aziz said that it has nothing to do with Kashmir cause as it is a multilateral process in which around 30 countries would participate. About the constant escalation of tension on the Line of Control [LoC] and Working Boundary, he said India is escalating the tension to divert the world’s attention from Kashmir and from its internal situation. He said that Pakistan Armed Forces were giving a befitting response to Indian firings on the border, adding the country’s armed forces are fully capable to respond effectively to any Indian aggression.

At the same time, he said, Pakistan is also apprising the international community of Indian provocation along the LoC and Working Boundary. He said that various countries are exerting pressure on India to refrain from increasing tension with Pakistan as further escalation along the border can threaten regional peace.

He said Pakistan is fully committed to 2003 Cease-fire Agreement but India is not fulfilling its commitment and continuously committing the cease-fire violations. Responding to another query, he said that Pakistan is currently in touch with transitional team of US President-elect Donald Trump through its Embassy in Washington and is also trying through other means to keep the 70-year-old relations between the two countries continue.

He said though there have been ups and downs in the bilateral relations with the US, Pakistani authorities are studying the manifesto of the newly elected US President with a view to continue work on common priorities.

He further said that Pakistan will also remind the US President-elect his offer of mediation between Pakistan and India on the issue of Kashmir as soon as the transition process is completed. “As he arrives, we will remind him [Trump] that he should play his due role in resolution of Kashmir dispute if he wants to do something very major in his tenure, because relations between Pakistan and India could only become normal when the issue of Kashmir is resolved,” he said. “If he [Trump] succeeds to resolve the Kashmir dispute, I’m sure he will be awarded with Nobel Prize,” Aziz said in a lighter mood.

About the Government’s decision to deport around 400 teachers and their family member of Pak-Turk Schools back to Turkey ahead of the Turkish President’s visit to the country, Aziz said that the decision will not affect the schools network because an alternate system is already there and changes are also in place in the board.

“If the Turkish government is not happy with the present structure, they [Turkish authorities] would replace the current staff and there would be no impact on the students and the schools,” he added. The Adviser also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s decision to boycott the joint sitting of the Parliament which would be addressed by the visiting Turkish president on November 17.

Source : Business Recorder