This is the first official statement on rumours of back-channel talks between Pakistan and India.
Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar has said that ever since the Shehbaz Sharif government came to power, there is no back-channel diplomacy between India and Pakistan. Earlier it has been claimed that both countries are holding secret talks.
However, so far no country had issued an official statement on such issues. Javed Chaudhary, a senior Pakistani journalist, even claimed that India and Pakistan had come close to resolving the Kashmir issue. He had even said that Pakistan’s then ISI Chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed had met Ajit Doval.
Now in response to a question in the Pakistani Parliament, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said on Thursday that ever since the present government came to power, there is no backchannel diplomacy going on between Pakistan and India untold to the rest of the world.
He bluntly told the Pakistani MPs that at present, no such thing is going on. Rabbani also said that behind-the-scenes diplomacy is necessary only when it has some dimension. Rabbani’s statement came after invitations were sent to Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Goa in May.
According to reports, Pakistan is yet to respond to the invitation sent by India through its High Commission in Islamabad.
Last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold serious and serious talks to resolve burning issues, including Kashmir. However, later, under pressure from the army, he retracted his statement and demanded the removal of Article 370 from Kashmir.
He also said that the leadership of the UAE can play an important role in bringing India and Pakistan to the negotiating table.