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Tuesday 27th July 2021 / 16 Zulhijjah 1442

Pakistan ready to talk if India revisits August 5 decisions: Qureshi

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Source: FILE/Online

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Source: FILE/Online

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Pakistan would willingness to talk out differences and resolve outstanding issues through dialogue if India was willing to revisit the unilateral decisions taken on August 5, 2019.

“If India is willing to revisit 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,” the foreign minister said in an interview with Turkish news agency during his two-day visit there.

He said Pakistan had outstanding issues with India including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, water and other minor issues and the only sensible way forward was 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,” he remarked, adding that India had moved away from talks and suspended the comprehensive dialogue.

He said the Indian unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 were against international law, UN Security Council resolution, and thereby placed at risk, stability and peace of South Asia. However, he said, the recent development of recommitment to ceasefire from both sides was positive development.

Moreover, he also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s messages on Pakistan’s national day and a goodwill message to Prime Minister Imran Khan who also responded positively to it. “So, there is some thought. It is too early to make a value judgment on that,” he remarked.

Regarding the Afghan peace process, Qureshi said the stakes in the process were very high. “The stakes are high, simply for the reason that God forbid, if there is no agreement, if there is no political settlement, the fear of going back into the 90s, the fear of Afghanistan going into a civil war is looming over our heads. And that is the last thing anyone of us wants. And that is the last thing Pakistan wants.”

Regarding the US decision for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that was one of the very important demands of the Taliban during the negotiations. He said Pakistan will urge the Taliban to remain engaged and continue with the peace process and come to a logical conclusion through the Istanbul conference.

To another question, the foreign minister said Pakistan could take advantage of its geopolitical position for generating economic activity and through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was providing a huge opportunity to landlocked countries like Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics.

When asked what obstacles Afghan parties needed to overcome, the foreign minister said the Afghans should seize this opportunity, sit amongst themselves and decide what kind of a constitution they want.

He said Pakistan could only help and facilitate and not make any decisions. He cautioned against the role of spoilers, the foreign minister said there were elements that had benefited from the war economy.

 

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