Jindal visit termed part of backchannel diplomacy

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Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb has rejected reports that recent visit of Indian entrepreneur Sajjan Jindal came under discussion during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The report also talked about how Sharif had reportedly visited Jindal's home for tea when he had gone to Delhi for Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

This was on a day leading Pakistan daily "The Nation" quoted Sharif 's advisor on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, as saying that he would not rule out a meeting between the Pakistan PM and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in June in Kazakhstan. There was nothing secret about the meeting and it should not be blown out of proportion.

It said the military leadership also took its officers into confidence on the meeting.

The sources said that the Indian businessman had the backing of some important Indian officials for his meeting with the Prime Minister to "defuse the ongoing tension" between the two neighbours.

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The army has taken senior officers into confidence regarding the meeting between Sharif and Jindal, and Bajwa told his colleagues the meeting was part of back channel diplomacy.

The ICJ on Tuesday told Pakistan not to hang Jadhav, sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of promoting terrorism in its territory and spying for India.

The Sharif-Jindal meeting was held at a time when relations between Pakistan and India were very strained due to a series of ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

The Sharif-Jindal meeting had triggered intense speculation with several politicians and analysts, suggesting it could be the precursor to a possible meeting between the two premiers in the near future.

There was no official comment by the government to confirm or deny the BBC report.

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