No major initiative in reviving Indo-Pak talks till 2019 elections: Govt sources

There is very little scope of initiating formal talks with Pakistan before the next year’s parliamentary polls, key government sources maintained here on Thursday and also lamented recent remarks by Pakistani leaders on Kartarpur have not instilled any inspiration.”Until the election process is over, it is unlikely see any major initiatives (on Indo-Pak dialogues),”a government source said here.On foreign policy in general, there is ‘winding up’ as the focus will be on ‘domestic matters’, the source said. Moreover, the source said the use of phrase of ‘shatranj ki chaal’ in Urdu or Hindi by Pakistani leaders perhaps meant more than the mere translation of the game of chess in English. “Shatranj ki chaal means something else,” he said in reference to Pakistani leaders observation after the Kartarpur roundbreaking ceremony.

“Such remarks were hardly designed to inspire confidence,” the source maintained. On the part of India, he said, it does not see there is any ‘reduction’ on the situation from across the border Sources, however, said Kaprtarpur is an ‘important development’ but it is obviously clear that “it is not a diplomatic initiative”. “It is essentially cultural issue and is a demand of Sikh pilgrims and those who have faith in Sikh religion”. Both the countries have taken “initiatives’ and New Delhi has taken significant steps to improve infrastructures at the Kartarpur corridor. “That does not mean, we are going to open a dialogue,” the source said. Sources admitted about harassment of Indian diplomats operating in Pakistan and went onto add the Indian High Commission buildings are not renovated for last 10 years.

“We have even moved people into our High Commission buildings with no gas supplies…..with no telecom, IT access or adequate furniture…..They (Pakistanis) are of course living very comfortably in their compound,” the source said. On Kartarpur, the source said details on security and other modalities are yet to be worked out. Defending government’s decision to put off earlier scheduled talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the source said “Contrary to the impression drawn, it was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Ms Swaraj who has first reached out to Imran Khan even before he was sworn in as the Prime Minister”. “Prime Minister Modi and Ms Swaraj wrote separate letters to Imran Khan….and subsequently, the Pakistan’s interest for talks in New York was taken on face value,” he said adding “within hours, three Jammu and Kashmir police were attacked”.

“There was a general sense in the government that there was no sincere effort by the new civilian leadership (of Imran Khan) or it did not have the ability to actually control the situation,” the source said and thus the Pakistan government under Imran Khan got a ‘befitting response’. On September 21, India had cancelled Ms Swaraj’s meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in New York.  “……..the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar has said in a strongly-worded statement.( UNI )