Home > News > Track 2 door opens again

Track 2 door opens again

PranabDhalSamanta Posted: Feb 26, 2012 at 0133 hrs
New Delhi India has resumed its backchannel conversation with Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the go-ahead to reactivate the process after repeated requests from Islamabad.The two envoys, India’s Satinder Lambah and former Pakistan foreign secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan, have been in touch over the past few months and have also met once. They will primarily address the issue of Kashmir, while also discussing other problems affecting the bilateral relationship.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had pitched strongly for resumption of these talks when he visited Mohali at Singh’s invitation for the World Cup semifinal in March 2011.

Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar raised the issue with the PM during her visit to Delhi in July. She is believed to have conveyed that despite Singh’s positive response to Gilani’s suggestion, the interlocutors were yet to start talking, and that the Pakistan PM was keen to push ahead.

India, however, was sceptical of the progress that could be made, given the political instability in Pakistan. Also, the understanding in New Delhi was that the Pakistani military did not share the objectives conveyed by the civilian government to the Indian leadership.

To complicate matters, the Pakistani government continued to distance itself from the progress achieved during the Musharraf regime. India was keen that there is some acknowledgment of the understanding reached then, more so because Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was the D-G, ISI when a settlement was imminent.

While South Block continues to remain uncertain of the substantive progress it can achieve, sources said the PM is of the view that there is no harm in pressing ahead with the backchannel effort because it would help attain wider acceptance of the peace proposals discussed when Musharraf was president.

New Delhi is also open to exploring ways to tweak the proposals without changing the larger framework, if that improves political acceptability.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has launched efforts to re-engage the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. An invite was sent out last week on behalf of the Pakistan foreign minister to Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq; a similar invite is expected to go to hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The invite does not mention a date, but is significant because the Hurriyat cannot start talks with New Delhi without a clear message from Islamabad. The last time the Hurriyat started a “quiet dialogue” with Home Minister P Chidambaram, moderate Hurriyat leader Fazl-ul Haq Qureshi was shot at, and the entire process went cold.

India will be watching Islamabad’s message to the Hurriyat closely in the coming days, because that could set the tone for the talks ahead.

Categories: News
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: