India-Pakistan dialogue remained on the back burner in 2017 as the bilateral talks failed to gain prominence between the two nations. The ties between the two countries had strained after the attack in Uri by Pakistan based terror organisations and counter-surgical strikes by the Indian army on terror launch pads beyond enemy lines.
The ties took a severe hit post-sentencing of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court in April this year. India reacted strongly when a Pakistan Army court sentenced Jadhav to death on charges of espionage after a secret trial. India demanded consular access to Jadhav, which Pakistan repeatedly denied claiming the man was an Indian spy. India took the case to the International Court of Justice, which put a hold on Jadhav’s execution.
Pakistan, however, claims that they were in support of resuming the dialogue process.
Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal told PTI, “Indian stubbornness is the main reason that we are unable to resume talks. The fault is with India and not with us. We are ready to talk about everything, but they don’t come forward and only hurl allegations.” Faisal maintained that the Pakistani side made persistent efforts to improve the strained relations and that their government cannot be blamed for “zero” progress in the bilateral talks in 2017.
Asserting Pakistan’s wish to engage in dialogue, the foreign spokesperson said that Islamabad kept summoning the Indian diplomats to the Foreign Office to register its protests on the ceasefire violations.
The Pakistani official was not optimistic about a change in the situation in 2018 and said that there was no hope for improving relations with the current government in India. “The same trend may continue in 2018. Nothing is changing on the ground,” he added.
The two countries engaged in a war of words on international forums with the Indian government rebuking its neighbouring counterpart for harbouring terror groups on its soil. India expressed its stand in the United Nations calling Pakistan the ‘face of international terrorism.’
Internally, Pakistan faced political turmoil with the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was succeeded by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Sharif had to vacate the top constitutional post after he was found guilty in Panama Papers scandal by the Supreme Court. The year will also be remembered for the deaths of hundreds of people in several terror attacks in pak’s provincial capitals – Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and Quetta. Several other cities were also targeted by terrorists, including those from the Islamic State.
(With inputs from PTI)