ISLAMABAD: British Foreign Secretary and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond on Tuesday urged Pakistan and India to not allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process and Afghan Taliban return to homeland after carrying out attacks in Pakistan.

The British diplomat held a joint press briefing with Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in the federal capital during his Pakistan visit.

“I urge both Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process. Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a precondition for starting the dialogue process,” Hammond said.

He said it is true that militants take hideouts in eastern Afghanistan after conducting attacks in Pakistan.

“We strongly welcome the steps that have been taken to create dialogue between India and Pakistan for the security of both countries but also for long-term economic development of both countries,” the British foreign secretary said, adding that Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism are admirable. It is hoped that Pakistan would cooperate in investigations pertaining to Pathankot attack.

The British foreign secretary advised Pakistan to speed up the investigation into January 02 terror assault on India’s Pathankot air base in northern Punjab state which India has blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups.

“I welcome Pakistan commitment to vigorously pursue Pathankot attack investigations and we hope that the country will make progress in the investigation,” he said.

Hammond also lauded Islamabad’s role in the fight against terrorism and said Britain will continue its support to Pakistan in war on terror. “I salute Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against terrorism. Pakistan is the victim of terrorism and we want to work with Pakistan to take on the threats it faces. British and Pakistan will remain partner against terrorism,” Hammond added.

On the occasion, Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan, China and United States (US) are cooperating in Afghanistan reconciliation process. It is expected that a formal initiation would be made in the coming few days, he added.

He Aziz said both Pakistan and Britain share convergence of views on regional and international issues and committed to further enhance their multifaceted relations.

He said that talks with India are not dependent on Pathankot incident. Foreign secretary-level dialogue between India and Pakistan would further irrespective of the tragic attack, he added.

The NSA said that a team would leave for India to assist in investigations regarding Pathankot attack within few days. Aziz also thanked the British foreign secretary for his country’s cooperation with Pakistan in various fields.

Sartaj Aziz assured the British foreign secretary that a joint investigation team is in process to complete its probe into the Pathankot attack. “The team will visit India in the next few days and hopefully then a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries will take place. The Indian High Commissioner himself stated that foreign secretaries’ meeting is not linked to the Pathankot investigation,” the premier’s advisor said.

Responding to a question on the Afghan reconciliation process, Sartaj Aziz said Islamabad is hopeful that the Afghan peace process will start in coming days. “Under the concept of shared responsibility Pakistan, China and the US have to persuade the Taliban to the negotiations,” he added.

Aziz also confirmed that the government shared intelligence with New Delhi about possible terror attacks in India. “Sharing of intelligence among various nations of the world is a routine practice and this happens around the world. However, this time it was somehow leaked to media. But this showed Pakistan’s commitment to fight terrorism,” Aziz said.

Earlier, Pakistan and the United Kingdom have agreed to prepare a three-year roadmap 2016-18 to bolster cooperation in different fields.

The understanding came at a meeting between Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond during talks in Islamabad