Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Thursday said that he believes peace talks between India and Pakistan had been “suspended” for the time being. “There shouldn’t be any doubt that Pakistan wants to have a normal and peaceful relationship with India...There is national consensus on this in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the talks are “bound to fail” because people of Pakistan were committed to anti-national “subversive activities”.
The Ministry of External Affairs later responded to Basit's remarks and said Pakistan had agreed to send its Joint Investigative Team to look into the Pathankot attacks on the "basis of reciprocity" and "in accordance with extant legal provisions". Basit had stated that as far as he knew, there were no talks scheduled between the two countries' foreign secretaries. He had also said the Pathankot investigation was "not about the process of reciprocity", PTI reported. His comments come soon after Pakistan's JIT visited India and examined the National Investigation Agency's evidence on the Pathankot attacks.
Referring to the recent arrest of alleged Research and Analysis Wing officer Kulbhushan Yadav in Pakistan, Basit said it “irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along”. When asked about India’s request to allow an NIA team to visit Pakistan to investigate the Pathankot attacks, he said he believed the investigation was more about the countries cooperating to investigate the incident than about reciprocity.
Indian Opposition parties have reacted to the developments and criticised the Centre for cooperating with Pakistan on the investigation. Congress leader Manish Tewari said, "There is a need for the prime minister and Bharatiya Janata Party to get off their high horse of jingoism and introspect on foreign policy on Pakistan," he said, adding that "they were being imbeciles" if they expected the Pakistani investigative team to validate the country's involvement in the Pathankot attacks.
This comes after the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team that visited India last week to look into the Pathankot attacks reportedly said India had staged the incident. The External Affairs Ministry has yet to confirm this.Foreign secretary-level talks between the neighbouring countries were stalled following the militant attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot on January 2, in which 13 people were killed. India maintains that Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror outfit was behind the strike. It demanded the arrest of JeM chief Masood Azhar and his brother, who was one of the terrorist handlers involved. The JIT was formed on the direction of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had assured India of a thorough investigation into the case.