Unidentified government officials on Monday dismissed Pakistan’s allegations that Islamabad’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, was restricted from speaking to media persons and travelling within the country, PTI reported. The officials said the Centre was a “gracious host” and that all facilities were extended to Aziz and his delegation during his visit for the Heart of Asia conference held in Amritsar.
The authorities said the Aziz-led delegation was offered a rare exception to arrive and depart via air at Amritsar, which is not an approved port for entry and exit of Pakistani nationals. The delegation was also given immediate clearance despite a last-minute change in schedule, officials said.
Aziz had accused his Indian hosts of not treating Pakistani mediapersons appropriately during the conference, which was aimed at helping Afghanistan transition from its war-torn situation. On returning to Pakistan, Aziz said, “I wanted to have a press interaction with our own media. But we were not allowed.”
Islamabad had also alleged that Aziz was not allowed to visit the famous Golden Temple or speak to Pakistani mediapersons citing security reasons.
The news agency, quoted officials, who said, “We extended tarmac access, gave additional rooms, provided armoured cars (not given to every foreign minister) and other conveniences, keeping special security requirements in view. This was done despite the last minute change of programme and advancing of arrival in Amritsar by special flight by more than 12 hours.”
During the conference, Afghanistan and India took a strong stance against Pakistan’s alleged harbouring of terrorists and called on the country to take assertive action against extremists within its borders.