ISI chief attends Indian High Commission's Iftaar party in Islamabad

      The Iftaar dinner hosted by the Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabarwal here had an unusual guest, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, which has rumour mills suggesting that there is some behind the curtain talks going on between India and the intelligence agency. Pasha stayed in the party, which was hosted at the maximum-security five-star Serena hotel, for 45 minutes, and shared the table with Sabharwal. This is probably the first time that a head of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, with a known dislike for India, has attended a function hosted by any Indian diplomat in Islamabad. Pasha's interaction with the Indian diplomats come three months after his meeting with the Indian defence advisors posted at the Islamabad High Commission. Pasha's presence amazed many as he arrived in the function donning a black sherwani over a white shalwar and not his usual army dress. Many did not even notice his presence until it was brought to their attention, Geo TV reported. Delegates present in the party saw it as a 'good gesture' and a 'positive change'. "It's a huge gesture by him. A very positive development," said former ISI Director-General, Lieutenant General Asad Durrani. "It is very symbolic. It means things are improving between the two countries, and there are people who want it to improve in spite of all the tough talk going on," said a former Army official Lieutenant General Talat Masood. Some noted journalists, who were also present at the party, asked Pasha whether things will improve between the two neighbour countries, to which the ISI chief replied: "Yes, I think they certainly will." One of the media persons said he is not sure about that happening in the near future. "You seem to be giving a fatwa," Pasha responded.

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