Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi | File Photo
Islamabad: Pakistan has expressed its readiness to hold bilateral talks with India if Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government at the Centre revisits its August 5, 2019 move revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and splitting the state into two Union Territories.
“If India is willing to re-visit some of the decisions that they took on August 5, 2019, Pakistan will be more than happy to engage, sit and talk out our differences and sit and through a dialogue resolve the outstanding issues,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in an interview with Turkey based Anadolu Agency.
Qureshi was on his two-day visit to Turkey.
Maintaining that India’s unilateral decision of August 5, 2019 was against international law, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and has put at risk, stability and peace of South Asia, Qureshi said that Pakistan had outstanding issues with India including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek and others and the only sensible way forward is the dialogue.
“We cannot afford to go to war, you know, it will be mutually suicidal. And no sensible person will advocate a policy of that nature. So, we need to sit and we need to talk,” Qureshi said
He also said it was India, not Pakistan, who ran away from talks and suspended the composite and comprehensive dialogue.
However, he said, one recent development of recommitment to ceasefire during the conversation between the directors general of military operations from both sides was a positive development.
“So, when they expressed an interest in recommitment, we welcomed it. Kashmiris have welcomed it. And that has, in my view, lowered tensions and has gone well on both sides. Sensible elements on this site and on that side have welcomed this new development,” Qureshi said.
India and Pakistan in a surprise announcement said on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived after a militant attack on the Pathankot Air Force base in 2016 by militants.
Subsequent attacks, including one on Indian Army camp in Uri, further deteriorated the relationship.
The relationship dipped further after India’s war planes carried out an airstrike at Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp on February 26, 2019 in response to the Pulwama suicide attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
The relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019.
Last month, Pakistan’s powerful Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward as he asserted that the peace between the two neighbours would help to unlock the potential of South and Central Asia.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Gen Bajwa’s remarks came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan made a similar statement.
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