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Meeting between Pak envoy and Swaraj was 'customary': Islamabad

ANI | Updated: Oct 21, 2017 16:57 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan] Oct.21 (ANI): Pakistan has said that the meeting between its High Commissioner in New Delhi and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier this week was customary.

Commenting on media reports about Pakistani High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood's meeting with Swaraj, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said, "Mr. Sohail Mahmood has recently assumed office as Pakistan's new High Commissioner to India. It is customary for the newly-posted envoys to make courtesy calls on local dignitaries. Accordingly, the high commissioner had a meeting with India's Minister of External Affairs, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, on 17 October 2017."

The spokesperson further added that, "The meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere. The Minister and the High Commissioner took stock of the current state of Pakistan-India relations. While broad contours of bilateral relations were deliberated upon during this interaction, no specific case came under discussion. Therefore, the reports appearing in the Indian media are speculative".

Pakistan released the statement after various media reports suggested that during the meeting Swaraj raised India's concerns over cross-border terrorism and asked Islamabad to quickly bring to book the accused in Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks.

Indian majorly blames the Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed for Mumbai terror attacks that began on 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, mastermind of IC-814 hijack case, are among four persons identified by Indian intelligence agencies as "handlers" behind the 2016 Pathankot attack, in which a heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.

The gun battle and the subsequent combing operation lasted about 17 hours on January 2, 2016, resulting in five attackers and three security personnel dead. A further three soldiers died after being admitted to hospital with injuries, raising the death toll to six soldiers.

As per reports, Swaraj also asked Pakistan to review its position on Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in Balochistan, Pakistan, over charges of terrorism and spying for India's intelligence agency- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

On April 10, 2017, Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) in Pakistan.

On May 18, 2017, the International Court of Justice stayed the hanging, after India approached it against the death sentence. (ANI)