Boat controversy was a drama: Pakistan

Islamabad, February 20: Pakistan foreign office spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam on on Friday said that Pakistan had made it clear that none if its boats went missing as claimed by Indian officials, a media report said. “It has been proven from the contradictory statements issued by top Indian officials that the boat issue was a drama that has now been exposed,” Dawn online quoted Aslam as saying.

Earlier Wednesday, Deputy Inspector General of the Indian Coast Guard, B.K. Loshali, denied reports which said that he had admitted ordering that a Pakistani boat be blown up in the Arabian Sea on New Year’s Eve. The claim was in sharp contrast to New Delhi’s official position that the boat had “suspected terror links” and that the crew had committed suicide by setting the vessel on fire.

Loshali later issued a rejoinder which rejected the media report terming it as “not factual” and denied making any such claim.

Responding to a question about Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan, the spokeswoman made it clear that all outstanding issues between the two countries would be discussed when he visits Islamabad.  However, Aslam added that no dates for the foreign secretary’s visit had been filised. She asserted that Pakistan was committed to having a meaningful dialogue with India and had never backtracked. Regarding the Samjhauta Express incident which left 68 people (mostly Pakistanis) dead and its investigation, Aslam said Indian authorities had never shared any probe reports with Islamabad. The train was carrying 757 passengers, including 553 Pakistanis, from New Delhi to Lahore via Attari when it was targeted by two low-intensity improvised explosive devices which caused a major fire in the carriages near Shiva village in India’s Panipat district.

She added that in view of the anniversary on February 18 of this tragic incident, Pakistan once again demanded that the Indian government share the complete investigation reports with the government of Pakistan. (IANS)

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