We’ve never shied away from talks, says Pakistan

‘But an enabling environment is needed’

Pakistan on Friday stopped short of categorically denying its involvement in some kind of backchannel talks with India though Islamabad has been insisting publicly that New Delhi should create an “enabling environment” for “meaningful dialogue”.

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry at the weekly press briefing was asked by several journalists about reported backchannel talks with India.

Instead of rejecting it outrightly, he said: “States have their ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars. Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important.”

“As for talks, Pakistan has never shied away from talks with India…,” Mr. Chaudhry said.

“India has vitiated the atmosphere, and the onus is on India to create an enabling and conducive environment for talks between the two countries,” he said.

In New Delhi, asked about media reports that backchannel talks between India and Pakistan were going on for more than a year, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi did not give a direct reply.

“If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication,” Mr. Bagchi said.

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