Pakistan

LAHORE- Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz would go to India through Wagah border to attend Heart of Asia conference on December 4 and will return the country on same day using the same route.

Aziz would be the first senior Pakistani official to visit India since the September 10 Uri attack, blamed on Pakistan-based militants, that led India to pull out of the SAARC Summit in Pakistan in November.

The conference is scheduled to be held in Amritsar on December 3.

On Monday, Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi Abdul Basit told a TV channel that Pakistan was ready to hold bilateral talks with India on the sideline of the 6th Ministerial Conference of Heart of Asia.

“We can delay talks for months or even for years. But ultimately, a solution to the problems between India and Pakistan can only come through dialogue, and therefore, both nations must sit and discuss all the issues that confront them,” Basit told a TV channel.

India, however, was cold to the latest overtures from Pakistan, using the mantra of “across-the-border militancy” to avoid dialogue on Kashmir and other bilateral issues.

“Unlike India, that had sabotaged the SAARC summit in Pakistan by pulling out, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia being held in India,” Aziz told the media earlier this month.

“It’s a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” PTV quoted Aziz as saying.

Aziz added he himself would participate in the conference and would not repeat India’s blunder where it boycotted South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit.

However, it has not been confirmed yet whether Sartaj Aziz would meet his Indian counterpart on the sidelines of the conference or not.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was expected to host the conference, is suffering from kidney failure and is on dialysis at All India Institute of Medical Science.

Since she will not travel to Amritsar, the two state ministers V K Singh and M J Akbar, are set to play host to the visiting foreign dignitaries.

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Sartaj Aziz is likely to reach Amritsar on December 4 morning. He is likely to cross the India-Pakistan border at Wagah-Attari and drive to Amritsar, which is just 30 km away. He will return the same day after taking part in the Heart of Asia ministerial conference.