No bilateral meeting scheduled with India, Aziz to leave on Sunday

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the two-day meeting that will focus on cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours

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Islamabad, Dec 1: Pakistan and India will not hold any bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference being held in Amritsar on December 3-4, it was reported on Thursday.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the two-day meeting that will focus on cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for improving connectivity and tackling security threats in the region.

'No bilateral meet scheduled with India'

"For now, we don't see any willingness on their part... the ball is in India's court, for they know we are willing but we don't know whether they are willing," a foreign office official told Dawn on Wednesday.

India on Wednesday clarified that it has not officially received a request for any bilateral meeting from Islamabad.

"Pakistan has not requested for any bilateral meeting so far," Gopal Baglay, who heads the Indian Ministry of External Affairs division dealing with Pakistan, said at a briefing in New Delhi.

Pakistan and India had at the last Heart of Asia ministerial meeting in Islamabad agreed to start "Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue" that was to cover all outstanding issues. The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot attack in January earlier this year.

Bilateral relations further deteriorated in July following the commencement of unrest in Jammu and Kashmir and India placed the blame for the September 18 Uri military camp attack and continuing infiltration attempts on Pakistan.

Things turned worse with the spike in ceasefire violations at the border that have left dozens of people dead in barely two months.

The Pakistan government decided to attend the Heart of Asia conference despite a deep freeze in bilateral ties, even though India had scuttled the Saarc summit that Islamabad was to host in November this year.

Aziz had earlier said in Islamabad: "India sabotaged Saarc, but Pakistan would not do the same."

IANS

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