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Sartaz Aziz to visit India on Sunday for Heart of Asia meet

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Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is set to visit India on Sunday to attend the Heart of Asia meet in Amritsar, according to a media report.

The two-day conference is being held in Amritsar this weekend (December 3-4) and Aziz visit Amritsar on Sunday, Dawn News reported.

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Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of the process that focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for improving connectivity and tackling security threats.

But no meeting with Indian officials is scheduled on the sidelines, the report said.

“For now we don’t see any willingness on their part…the ball is in India’s court, for they know we are willing but we don’t know whether they are willing,” an official was quoted as saying.

Pakistan and India had held a meeting in Islamabad at the last Heart of Asia ministerial meeting and agreed to start ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ that was to cover all outstanding issues.

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The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year. An official was also quoted as saying that Pakistan had not formally reached out to India for a bilateral meeting in Amritsar.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit, while participating in BBC Urdu’s ‘Facebook Live’ interaction yesterday, said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India is ready.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not attending the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting. “Since Sushma Swaraj is not attending, it’s difficult to have a meeting with anyone else,” the daily quoted a Pakistani diplomat as saying.

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“The Pakistani side believes that the way out of the current stalemate in ties is India giving up its intransigence,” the daily said.

“India has to make up its mind. They are not willing to discuss Kashmir,” the official said. India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.