Sharif's brother meets Manmohan with missive

Sharif's brother meets Manmohan with missive

Even as Paki­s­t­an Prime Minister M Nawaz Sharif’s brother M Shahbaz Sharif called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Thursday and delivered a "goodwill message", New Delhi is understood to be cautiously studying Islamabad’s fresh offer for a dial­ogue on terrorism at the level of the National Security Advisers of the two countries.

Shahbaz, who is also the Chief Minister of Punjab province of Pakistan, called on Singh soon after his arrival in New Delhi early on Thursday and stressed resumption of the stalled bilateral dialogue.
The highly-influential leader of Pakistan Muslim League (Shahbaz) is on a visit to India at an invitation from Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal.

“The chief minister delivered a message of goodwill from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while emphasizing Pakistan’s desire to forge cooperative relations with India, in the interest of peace and prosperity of the peoples of the two countries and of the region,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Pakistan government stated on Thursday.

It added that Shahbaz also “underscored the importance of resumption of dialogue and peaceful resolution of all issues”.

Singh also received a fresh invitation from Sharif for a visit to Pakistan. Sharif’s special assistant Tariq Fatemi, who accompanied Shahbaz, handed over the invitation to Singh on his behalf.
A day before his brother’s arrival in New Delhi, Nawaz Sharif proposed to start a regular bilateral dialogue on terrorism between the National Security Advisers to the Prime Ministers of the two countries. The Pakistan prime minister mooted the proposal when New Delhi’s envoy to Islamabad, T C A Raghavan, called on him on Wednesday.

Bitter experience

Sources in New Delhi, however, told Deccan Herald that India would cautiously study the Pakistan prime minister’s proposal, as it already had a bitter experience over the Joint Anti Terror Mechanism (JATM), which had been set up by the two countries with much fanfare in 2006.

The JATM, according to the sources, had remained more of a ritual with little actual cooperation on ground. Islamabad had not acted on the information provided by New Delhi on the terrorist camps thriving in the territory controlled by Pakistan.

Islamabad had rather used the mechanism to accuse India’s security establishment of fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, particularly in Balochistan, ostensibly to counter similar allegations by New Delhi.

New Delhi recently blamed Pakistan’s armed forces for 194 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control this year. Ten Indian soldiers have been killed due to firing by Pakistani Army from across the LoC so far.  

When Singh and Sharif had met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 29 last, the two countries had agreed that the Director Generals of Military Operations of the two countries would meet to find out “effective means to restore the ceasefire and a way forward to ensure that it remains in force and in place.” The two sides had also agreed that truce violations should be stopped and peace and tranquility should be maintained along the border.

But Pakistani soldiers continued to open fire on Indian Army and Border Security Force personnel for several weeks even after the meeting in New York.

This prompted India to convey its disappointment to Pakistan and the proposed meeting between the DGMOs has not yet taken place.

New Delhi, however, recently noted that the truce violations had come down, after the two DGMOs had routine conversations over hotlines on October 25 and 29 last.

This was reiterated by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Aizaz A Chaudhry, in Islamabad on Thursday.

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