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Pakistan distances itself from Vaidik-Saeed meeting

Pakistan distances itself from Vaidik-Saeed meetingPakistan on Thursday distanced itself from the controversy over the meeting between Indian journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed saying it had no role in the private interaction.

The foreign ministry only takes care of request for official meetings and not private interactions, Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said at a weekly briefing.

“If there is a request for a call on the Prime Minister or the Advisor to the Prime Minister, it would go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But we don’t arrange meetings of individuals with private citizens in Pakistan,” she said to a query about Vaidik’s meeting with Saeed in Lahore. Opposition parties in India have alleged that the meeting between the scribe and Saeed could not have been held without the ISI’s green signal.

Vaidik had met Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), said to be the parent organisation of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, in Lahore on July 2 while touring Pakistan along with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a think tank here.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he looked forward to charting a “new course” in bilateral relations with Pakistan in an atmosphere “free from confrontation and violence”.

“Any articulation of policy that India wants to settle all issues, including the outstanding issue of Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue resonates with us as it has been our policy,” Aslam said.

She said Pakistan’s policy, all along, has been that all outstanding disputes, particularly the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved through dialogue. India has insisted that completion of the trial of the Mumbai attacks accused in Pakistan was essential for taking forward the dialogue process.

“But you cannot have dialogue and at the same time impose pre-conditions. The trial of the accused in Mumbai case is proceeding. It’s not held up,” she said.

Aslam also accused India of holding up the trial of the accused in the Samjhauta Express bombing in which Pakistanis were the victims. “We do expect that Pakistanis who have been victims of terrorists would also get justice,” she said.