Pakistani Foreign Minister SM Qureshi claimed on Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an offer of talks in his letter to newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. But citing sources Indian media reported that the letter written by PM Modi to his Pakistani counterpart was congratulatory in nature and contained no such proposal.
India has reportedly rejected any possibility of dialogue unless Pakistan makes a complete clampdown on terror emanating from its soil.
While addressing the media at the Foreign Office in Islamabad, Qureshi, who took oath of office as part of Khan’s cabinet, said, “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to PM Imran Khan in which he indicated the beginning of talks between the two countries.”
He said that there was need for “continued, uninterrupted dialogue” between the two neighbours but did not forget to raise the Kashmir issue.
“India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them,” he asserted adding that the issues between the two nations are “complicated and we may face hurdles in resolving them”.
“We will have to admit that we are facing problems, we must admit that Kashmir is a reality,” he said.
Recalling late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Pakistan when he was the Prime Minister of India, Qureshi said that the “Islamabad declaration is a part of our history”. He was referring to joint declaration of SAARC nations at the 12th Summit meeting held in Islamabad on 4-6 January 2004.
“We may have a different approach and line of thinking, but I want to see a change in how we behave,” Geo News quoted him as saying.
According to Geo News, Qureshi also directly addressed Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj urging her to resolve issues through dialogue.
“I want to tell the Indian foreign minister that we are not just neighbours; we are atomic powers. We have a lot of common resources. We have long-standing issues; both of us know these problems. But we have no other option but to engage in dialogue. We cannot afford adventurism,” he said.
Imran Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), took oath as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 18 following his victory in the General Elections on July 25, 2018.
Meanwhile, newly reinstated Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said that he would be very happy if India and Pakistan hold talks while expressing his happiness at the appointment of his “long time friend” SM Qureshi as the foreign minister.
Copyright: The Statesman/ Asia News Network (ANN)