ISLAMABAD - Advisor to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday did not rule out Pakistan and Indian premiers meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit next month in Kazakhstan.

He, however, said that it was too early to speak about it but quickly added: “Pakistan could consider the meeting, if interest was shown from the other side.”

Speaking to journalists here, Aziz said that the SCO Summit was an important occasion as Pakistan would become a permanent member of the organisation.

There are widespread speculations about the possible Nawaz Sharif-Narendra Modi meeting, after PM Sharif recently met Indian business tycoon Sajjan Jindal in Murree where he reportedly conveyed a message of the Indian premier to the Pakistani leader.

Aziz said that Pakistan was reviewing India’s plea against Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence and jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

He said that India had moved the ICJ against Jadhav’s conviction. “We will issue a statement on this issue in a couple of days,” Aziz added. Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation, that Islamabad had launched diplomatic efforts to defuse tension along the borders with its immediate neighbours.

“There have been overt and covert talks with all the countries [Iran, Afghanistan and India]. Nobody can afford confrontation, so we are trying to resolve the misunderstandings through talks,” an official said. He said that, while there had been open talks with Iran and Afghanistan, back-channels were being used in India’s case.

“If the PMs of Pakistan and India do meet on the sidelines of the SCO summit, it will be positive to concentrate on the talks process,” the official added. Earlier, addressing a seminar organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, Aziz said: “Both Iran and Afghanistan are not enemies but friendly countries.”

He called upon Afghanistan to check cross-border movement of terrorists.  Aziz also asked Afghan authorities to take action against banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan operating from the Afghan soil.

He said: “Operation Raddul Fasaad [elimination of discord] has been launched to eradicate remnant terrorist elements,” adding that terrorist sanctuaries had been destroyed in Waziristan. The adviser said that Pakistan had always made sincere efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stressed that, “Political solution can only pave the way for durable peace in the neighbouring country.”

The adviser said Pak-Afghan border at Chaman had partially been opened. In the first phase, sick Afghan nationals were being allowed to go back to their homes.

He said that Pakistan’s efforts led to Murree talks in July 2015 and the setting up of Quadrilateral Coordination Group in December 2015.

However, at both instances the process was undermined by forces who were against reconciliation, Aziz added.

Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said, had immense scope and offer multiple opportunities. “Pakistan extends transit trade facilities to Afghanistan through its ports under an Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement without any quantitative limits or barriers. The revision of this agreement is due and we are hoping that the next meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority would be convened soon,” the adviser said.

Aziz on Wednesday also addressed a seminar on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor organsied by the National University of Modern Languages.

The adviser said that regional connectivity for economic prosperity was an important pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“Our present government is earnestly implementing various trans-regional connectivity projects linking Pakistan with energy-rich Central Asia and the Middle East and economically promising China and the Far East,” he added. Among all these projects, Aziz said, the CPEC held a special significance, as it was a flagship project of China’s One Belt-One Road initiative.

“One Belt-One Road is a visionary concept, which has proposed creating Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, with focus on connectivity of infrastructure including roads, rail links, sea routes, ports, and connectivity of policy, trade and finance,” he said.

Aziz said that the CPEC was a vital bridge that connected the road and the belt.

“By linking China with the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, the CPEC will optimise trade potential and enhance energy security of China, Pakistan and our wider region. Thus, it will directly benefit three billion people inhabiting China, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East,” he said.

Aziz expressed his hope that the academic communities of Pakistan and China would keep taking interest in the CPEC to improve “our perspectives and enrich the discourse on this important initiative.”