India counters Pak envoy on Pathankot visit

SansadTV Bureau

File photo of Pakistan envoy of Abdul Basit (PTI)

India has countered Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s assertion that the visit by Pakistani JIT was not to be reciprocated by an Indian visit to Pakistan. The MEA said that both sides had agreed that it would be on the basis of reciprocity.

“We have seen comments by the Pakistani High Commissioner on the visit of the JIT Team to investigate the terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Base that have reference to reciprocity….MEA would like to clarify that on 26 March, 2016, before the visit of the JIT, the Indian High Commission formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that the Terms of Reference ‘are broadly agreed to with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions,” said External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup.

“Subsequently, the JIT visited from March 27 to April 1, 2016″.

While interacting with the media in Delhi, on Thursday Abdul Basit said, “The whole investigation is not about the question of reciprocity in my view. It is more about extending cooperation or our two countries cooperating with each other to get to the bottom of the incident.”

Basit also said that the Indo-Pak peace talks were suspended.

Reacting to this, Vikas Swarup referred to the press conference of Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nafees Zakaria in which he said,”I have stated this many times that both countries are in contact with each other and it has been reiterated from both sides that modalities are being worked out.

“I will again state that negotiations are the best means to resolve the issues. I have read the statement of the Indian Foreign Secretary you are referring to and in that also there was indication that the talks would take place.”

According to India, Pakistan has taken a u-turn on the NIA team visiting Islamabad to conduct a probe there.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh held a crucial meeting with NSA Ajit Doval and other officials including Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, chiefs of different intelligence agencies. The high-level meeting discussed the issue of  Pakistan’s denial of permission to the NIA team to visit the country.

(With inputs from PTI)