Pakistan may adopt tough stance over Indian talks offer
* Diplomats say Islamabad could seek ‘result-oriented dialogue’ linked to timeline for resolution of outstanding issues
By Sajjad Malik
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan might adopt a tough stance over India’s offer for talks and press for “result-oriented dialogue” linked to a timeline for the resolution of all outstanding issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir dispute, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources said Pakistan was wary of an “open-ended” peace process that could linger on for years without any tangible progress on key issues that had been a thorn in the side of relations for decades.
“We are not interested in just talks ... [we are looking for] a fruitful engagement that will result in the solution of real problems and help bring peace,” said the sources.
Pakistan would also seek India’s assurance that New Delhi would not unilaterally suspend the peace process in case of a terrorist attack by “non-state actors”.
They said Pakistan was serious about addressing all issues with India, and would hold in-depth discussions on the offer for talks tomorrow (Wednesday) to decide the key issues related to dialogue with India.
“We are expecting a candid exchange of views on all aspects of relations with India, including the agenda of the talks ... there are several issues, such as India’s refusal to resume the composite dialogue immediately,” they said.
Some diplomats believe that India is not sincere in the context of the resumption of the peace process and New Delhi had only agreed to engage Pakistan under increased foreign pressure and the ”looming loss of its influence in Afghanistan” because of Pakistan’s new role in reintegrating “peace loving” Taliban in the Afghan society.
The sources said Pakistan had already called back Indian High Commissioner Shahid Malik – who is arriving today (Tuesday) to attend the consultations at the Foreign Office and brief the high-ups on his meetings with Indian diplomats.
The peace process was suspended after the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008. While Pakistan had perpetually sought the resumption of the peace talks, India had been refusing to come to the negotiations table until Pakistan brought the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. India has said that it has made the offer with “an open and positive” mind. While India has now agreed to talks, it is reluctant to fully restore the composite dialogue under domestic compulsions.
Analysts believe that both countries would have to come out of their “fixation” for any solution to bilateral problems.