ISLAMABAD - Rejecting the notion that the Indian foreign secretary’s recent visit to Pakistan was a failure, Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasneem Aslam Thursday described it as an icebreaker between the neighbouring countries.

“We said that it is an icebreaker, taking place in lieu of the August tour. It is a process. The meeting was held in a constructive and positive atmosphere,” Tasneem Aslam told the weekly press briefing.

Answering a question, she said New Delhi’s blaming Pakistan for every terrorist attack on others was baseless, adding terrorism had affected all, particularly this region.

“We have our concerns and India has its own. Hence, this issue needs to be addressed in a cooperative manner,” Tasneem Aslam asserted. She called for greater cooperation amongst the international community to weed out the scourge of terrorism, adding Pakistan had suffered the most because of terrorism.

“It is not a good approach to blame every terrorist attack on others. We expect that first of all investigations should be conducted; only then we can talk about it. We have done more than any other country to counter terrorism. We expect a similar approach from other countries,” the spokesperson said.

Answering a question about extended presence of the US troops in Afghanistan, the spokesperson said Islamabad had been suggesting a responsible drawdown, but it was essentially for the Afghan government to decide how long they required foreign troops and what kind of assistance from other partners they expected.

On Pakistan’s role in reconciliation process in Afghanistan, Tasneem Aslam reiterated Pakistan supported Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.

Commenting on the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia, she said the PM met the King on Wednesday. “They underlined the need for close and brotherly relations between the two countries. They also identified a number of fields for enhanced bilateral cooperation, including energy, trade, investment, security and, of course, counterterrorism,” she asserted.

Regarding the arrest of Afghan diplomats from Peshawar, she said the incident was inadvertent. “Pakistan scrupulously follows internationally accepted diplomatic norms as well as Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations. Nevertheless, all concerned have been advised to be careful in dealing with diplomats to avoid any future recurrence. The diplomats are also advised to inform the local authorities of their locations to avoid the possibility of such incidents,” she said.

To another question, the spokesperson said Pakistan always stood for the unity of the Muslim Ummah and did not look at Muslim Ummah through sectarian, racial or ethnic prism.

Commenting on media reports about arrest of Abdul Salam Sattar Regi, an Iranian national, on February 28, 2015, in Balochistan, she said there had been no confirmation of this news so far.

“We are in contact with the federal and provincial authorities concerned to check the veracity of the media reports regarding his arrest. We have just received a request from Iranian consulate in Quetta for consular’s access to Regi and not for his extradition,” she added.

ENVOYS BRIEFED ON INDIAN FS VISIT

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Thursday emphasised the importance of maintaining sustained and structured dialogues between Pakistan and India to carry forward their relationship.

He was briefing the P-5 countries’ ambassadors and the EU Mission in Islamabad about the recent visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary.

Describing the visit as a step in the right direction, the Foreign Secretary gave a detailed briefing on the talks held, which covered the bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern and interest. He also stressed the importance of maintaining sustained and structured dialogue to carry forward the relationship. The envoys expressed satisfaction on the development in this regard.