Pak envoy discuses issues of mutual interest with Sushma

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NEW DELHI: In the first high-level contact between the two countries in months, the newly-appointed Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood met Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj earlier this week, the Times of India reported.

Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Issues concerning cross-border terrorism, including the Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, came under discussion during the meeting, TOI quoted official sources as saying. Swaraj pressed on the Pakistani envoy to review stance on Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav whose death sentence has been challenged by India in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Indian government wants all charges against Jadhav to be dropped and him to be sent back to India for any progress in bilateral relations between the two neighbours, the report said.
Mahmood is also expected to meet Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Days after the meeting, on the occasion of Diwali, Swaraj announced medical visas for deserving Pakistanis whose applications had been pending with India.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office is yet to confirm or deny reports of the meeting. Mahmood took charge as the Pakistani High Commissioner to India in August this year, after Abdul Basit retired from the position.
Relations between the two nuclear nations have been sour for months now, with both trading barbs at the recent UN General Assembly meeting. Sushma Swaraj termed Pakistan “the export factory of terror” while Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Maleeha Lodhi called India the “mother of terrorism in South Asia” during the assembly sessions.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office in Islamabad has rejected as speculative the reports that India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in her introductory meeting with the Pakistani ambassador to Delhi had called for Islamabad to review its position in convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case.
“During this interaction, no specific case came under discussion. Therefore, the reports appearing in the Indian media are speculative,” the FO said in response to reports about the meeting held earlier this week.
Indian media reported that Ms Swaraj had asked the Pakistan government to review its position on Jadhav and grant his mother a visa to visit Pakistan. The spy’s case is being heard by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where India has challenged Pakistan’s refusal to grant consular access to him.