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‘Pak, India should set up mechanism for resolving differences’

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India and Pakistan should sit together to set up a mechanism for resolving their differences instead of “maligning” each other, an aide of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said.

Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Sharif on Foreign Affairs, said that after the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sharif in Ufa, Pakistan is now looking forward to its National Security Adviser’s visit to New Delhi, which is exactly in order to meet the concerns of both the sides.

He said that it is important for the two countries to sit down and resolve the differences.

“If they (India) have concerns, and we have concerns, so you have two options. Either go around beating each other, maligning each other, ridiculing each other, which will add to hostility between the two countries, or sitting down as civilised people, which we presume we are, and then debating and discussing and finally resolving them,” Fatemi said speaking at The Heritage Foundation, a US think-tank here.

He said that the meeting between Modi and Sharif in Ufa provides a “glimmer of hope” that the talks would be revived between the two countries.

“…I see a small glimmer of hope in the meeting that took place between the prime ministers of the two countries on the 10th of this month, in the city of Ufa, and you will have to go back to your geography lessons to know where it is. It is deep in the belly of Russia, a southern city in the Bashkir Republic.”

“Let us set up a mechanism whereby Indian concerns can be met, and our concerns can be met. You see, if the two countries are to live at peace with each other, and I agree with you that the people do want peace, on both sides of the border, there is no doubt about it. That is why it becomes incumbent on the political leadership to carve out a way, and in the process, friends should also help us,” he said.

On underworld don Dawood Ibraham, Fatemi said he is not aware if the 1993 Mumbai attack mastermind is alive or dead.

“Dawood Ibraham, or Ibrahim Dawood, we don’t know where he is. I, frankly, am not even aware that he is alive, dead or alive, or that he is in Pakistan. There are people, you know, who have committed acts of terror and have disappeared. We don’t know,” he said.

Notably, till the time Al Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden was killed by US commandoes in a daring raid in Abbottabad in 2011, top Pakistani leadership continued to deny his presence inside the country.