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Major initiative to improve Indo-Pak ties unlikely before LS polls: Official sources

The Lok Sabha polls are due in April-May.
New Delhi: It is unlikely that there will be any major initiative to improve ties between India and Pakistan until Lok Sabha elections are held, official sources said Thursday.
However, they did not “definitively” rule out any positive development.
Last month, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, while calling for bettering ties between the two neighbours, had said that he was willing to wait for New Delhi’s response till general elections are held in India. The Lok Sabha polls are due in April-May.
Asked about the latest episode of harassment of staff at Indian High Commission in Islamabad, the sources said India is not contemplating scaling down its strength in the mission.
They said Pakistan is yet to grant gas connections to the new residential building of its mission in Islamabad despite repeated requests by India.
“Our diplomats are facing harassment on multiple counts. Our High Commission buildings and projects in Islamabad are stalled for last 10 years. We moved people in the High Commission building with no gas supply,” said a source.
They said furniture for new buildings are held up at the border and no telecom connections have been granted by Pakistan.
Recalling the “unprecedented levels” of harassment of officials of the Indian mission in Islamabad earlier this year, the sources indicated that India had given a tit for tat response.
“That resulted in them backing of real fast,” said a source.
When asked about alleged harassment of Indian diplomats in the country, Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said Islamabad was facilitating the Indian High Commission to operate according to the international laws and diplomatic norms.
“Pakistan stands for upholding the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic relations and has always endeavoured to facilitate the working of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad within the diplomatic norm, international law and practices,” he said during a media briefing in Islamabad.
On the Kartarpur corridor project, the sources said it was a cultural initiative and not a diplomatic or political one.
They said Kartarpur corridor initiative does not mean India was going to open dialogue with Pakistan on larger issues.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.
Pakistan has been projecting the initiative as its major diplomatic coup. On Thursday, Pakistan described it as the “high point of diplomacy” for the Imran Khan government.

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