ISLAMABAD - President Hamid Karzai neither had testy exchanges with Pakistani officials over Taliban's presence nor stormed out of a meeting with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad, his spokesman said on Saturday.
Karzai reportedly used an aggressive tone in asking Pakistan to produce senior Taliban leaders for peace talks with his administration. He got so angry that Gilani had to halt delegation-level talks between the two countries on Thursday.
A participant of the meeting said on condition of anonymity that Pakistani officials also angrily reacted to Karzai's blunt demanded that Islamabad arrange senior Taliban leaders' meeting with him during the two-day visit.
Thanks to the prime minister's intervention, the fireworks subsided and the Afghan leader returned to the negotiating table, said the source, privy to the tense meeting. The Pakistan foreign minister, army chief and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head were also present.
But Aimal Faizi, the presidential spokesman, denied any harsh words had been traded between the two sided. There had been no harsh exchanges and Karzai's visit had been positive and result-oriented, he told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Faizi insisted the talks took place in constructive and friendly environment, with the Pakistani side giving a patient hearing to the president's views on the ongoing reconciliation parleys with Afghan militants.
On Friday morning, Karzai told senior Pakistani journalists: "Our dialogue is at an advanced stage; we are discussing real issues. But what we have not yet come to are the mechanisms we need to achieve the objective of a region free of extremism."
Dawn newspaper reported that Karzai was involved in a heated exchange with Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha over allegations of Taliban leaders' presence in the country.
After Friday's trilateral summit involving Pakistani, Afghan and Iranian presidents, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar confirmed the bilateral talks with the Afghan team did not proceed smoothly.
The talks were difficult, she acknowledged, calling the Afghan demand for producing Mullah Omar for talks "unrealistic and ridiculous".