Former Pakistan Foreign Secretary Shahryar Khan and ex-Indian diplomat S K Lambah,the point men for India- Pakistan back-channel diplomacy,are to meet in Dubai on Thursday to ease tensions and draw a planned meeting between the premiers of the two countries.
The decision to initiate back-channel diplomacy to address tensions caused by ceasefire violations along the Line of Control was taken at a meeting of Pakistan’s Defence Committee of the Cabinet on August 24.
The two seasoned envoys will meet away from the media’s eyes in Dubai to work out details for the planned meeting of the Prime Ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York next month,The Nation daily reported.
Asked about the report,Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said both countries were engaged in Track-II diplomacy.
“India’ss point-person Mr Lambah and Pakistan’ss point-person Mr Khan have been in touch with each other,he told a weekly news briefing.
“As for the meeting (between the premiers),it has been the position of the Pakistan government that should an opportunity arise,we believe such a contact between the leadership would be a welcome opportunity to discuss all issues that require urgent discussion and to improve relations between the two countries,” Chaudhry said.
According to the newspaper report,Khan was asked to come to Islamabad from London,where he was on a private visit,so that he could proceed for the Dubai meeting after being briefed by the government.
Prior to his departure for talks with Lambah,Khan met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,his top foreign policy aides and a Foreign Office team.
Pakistan’ss High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, who was here recently,shared his assessment of the situation with Khan.
This will be the second meeting between Khan and Lambah since Sharif’s government came to power in June.
Sharif appointed the former Foreign Secretary his special envoy for India in early July to give impetus to the bilateral dialogue process.
Incidentally,the 2003 ceasefire on the LoC was an outcome of back-channel diplomacy during the regime of former President Pervez Musharraf. The venue for talks then too was Dubai.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.