Need for uninterrupted dialogue with India: Pak FM

Islamabad: Pakistan’s newly-appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday claimed that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan indicating beginning of a dialogue between the two nations. However, denying Qureshi’s claim, sources in India emphasised that there was no fresh proposal for resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

“Prime Minister wrote to the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, on 18 August congratulating him on his assumption of charge. He expressed the belief that the smooth transition of Government in Pakistan would strengthen and cement people’s belief in democracy. He recalled their telephone conversation, in which they spoke of their shared vision to bring peace, security and prosperity in the Indian subcontinent, in order to make it free of terror and violence, and to focus on development,” sources said.

“Prime Minister expressed India’s commitment to build good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan and pursue meaningful and constructive engagement for the benefit of the people of the region,” sources added.

Qureshi was on Monday sworn-in as a member of Imran Khan’s cabinet along with 15 more people. Speaking at a press conference after his swearing-in, Qureshi said engaging in a dialogue was important for India and Pakistan as the countries cannot afford “adventurism” and the two countries needed to have an uninterrupted dialogue to resolve long standing issues between them.

Addressing his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, Qureshi said that India and Pakistan are not just neighbours but also “atomic powers.”

“We must admit that Kashmir is a reality. The Islamabad Declaration is a part of our history.”

While accepting that there was a need to change the ‘direction’ of foreign policy of the country, Qureshi said Pakistan wants peace and stability in the region. He asserted that national interest will be the priority in Pakistan’s foreign policy. ” Our foreign policy will begin and end at Pakistan”, he said.

Talking about the other neighbour Afghanistan, Qureshi said that he wished to visit Kabul and talk to his Afghan counterpart. Qureshi added that peace and stability in Afghanistan will eventually bring stability and peace in Pakistan.

“I want to go with a solid message for the people of Afghanistan. The two countries share a future and geography, and we have to work together and begin our long journey”, he said.