Pak FO in a 'fix' over India's 'luring' offer

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Islamabad, Feb.9 (ANI): As the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan are expected to resume later this month, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) officials are sceptic about New Delhi's overtures and believe the offer has landed Islamabad in a 'fix'.

Pakistani diplomats have advised the political leadership to maintain a cautious approach on the deliberations.

Pakistani bureaucrats believe that New Delhi is trying to lure Islamabad by offering foreign-secretary level talks.

One of the officials said: "It (India's offer) has put the Foreign Ministry in a fix," and describe the offer as a 'bait'.

The Foreign Office held an 'in-house deliberations' on the invitation extended to Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir by his Indian counterpart, Nirupama Rao last week.

India had proposed February 18 and 25 as the possible dates for the meeting, however Islamabad is yet to take a final decision in this regard.

Sources privy to the 'in house' meeting said there was strong resistance at the meeting to accepting parleys that do not lead to the restoration of Composite Dialogue or having a conference under a new framework.

"It was felt that we ought to be very careful because engagement with India without any prior agreement on resumption of Composite Dialogue would not be to our advantage," The Dawn quoted a senior official, as saying.

It may be noted that India had turned down Pakistan's request to resume the stalled Composite Dialogue in order to resolve all outstanding issues between two countries, including Kashmir and water distribution issues.

"At the end of the day it is going to be the political leadership's decision on whether or not to accept the invitation. It might come up with some 'out of box thinking'," another diplomat added. (ANI)

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