New Delhi: Amid tensions on the border, there’s some quiet Indo-Pak diplomacy at work. Pakistan high commissioner Sohail Mahmood visited Punjab and Haryana earlier this week and met the chief ministers of the two states. He also visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Mr Mahmood is viewed as a moderate and has been extremely keen to work towards improvement in bilateral ties. The visit comes soon after India accused Pakistan of using the “Khalistan” bogey to instigate Indian Sikh pilgrims visiting Sikh religious shrines in Pakistani Punjab.
In a statement, the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi said, “Pakistan’s high commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood paid an official visit to the Indian states of Haryana and Punjab from 23-25 April 2018. High commissioner Sohail Mahmood called on the chief minister of Punjab, Capt. Amarinder Singh, and had an extended exchange of views during the luncheon ... hosted by the latter at the chief minister’s official residence. High commissioner Sohail Mahmood also visited the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar, to pay obeisance.”
The high commission added, “In the context of making progress on humanitarian issues, the High Commissioner underlined the importance of early repatriation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentences... During these interactions, views were exchanged on myriad aspects of Pakistan-India relations. Among other things, the need for reducing bilateral tensions including on the LoC, implementing confi-dence-building measures, reviving the structured dialogue process, peacefully resolving outstanding disputes, and taking steps to promote socio-economic development at the regional level through the vehicle of Saarc was underscored.”