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March 1, 2015

Resumption of Pakistan, India talks next month discussed in detail


March 1, 2015

Senior diplomats, parliamentarians, policy-makers and journalists from Pakistan and India met for the fourth round of the Track-II Islamabad Dialogue to discuss the state of bilateral relations, ahead of the much anticipated meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries on March 3, says a press release.
The two delegations discussed a range of issues including the resumption of bilateral dialogue, Jammu and Kashmir, opportunities for cooperation towards the stability of Afghanistan, the shared challenges posed by climate change and the role of the media increating an atmosphere for conducive for improving bilateral discourse. The Islamabad Dialogue was jointly organized by the Jinnah Institute and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation on the 26 and 27 of February, 2015. The conference is part of Jinnah Institute’s leading initiative on peace building through Track II diplomacy between India and Pakistan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tariq Fatemi met the delegates from India and Pakistan and gave a key note address outlining the foreign policy priorities of the government.
The participants began the two-day dialogue by welcoming the upcoming visit of the Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and the opportunity it provided for a reset of bilateral relations. They called on Islamabad and New Delhi to restart discussions on all outstanding issues and hoped that concrete progress would be made during the visit. Delegates discussed the prevailing political situation in both countries and its impact on shaping the bilateral relationship.
Senior journalists from India and Pakistan also dissected trends in print and electronic media, highlighting that a lack of information and understanding on both sides often prevented the media playing a constructive role in peace building. They called for opening up of airwaves for news and TV channels and a liberalization of the visa regime for media persons

from both countries.
Participants welcomed recent developments in Afghanistan since the formation of the national unity government in Kabul and hoped that President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah would lead Afghanistan towards greater stability. Delegates called for both India and Pakistan to cooperate in ensuring stability in Afghanistan, which is necessary for regional peace and progress.
Finally participants noted the impact of climate change on South Asia and urged both governments to closely cooperate in addressing water management, environmental degradation, maintenance of catchment areas and alternate energy solutions.
Participants of the conference included Sherry Rehman, Aziz Ahmad Khan, Najmuddin Shaikh,Salman Bashir, Farhatullah Babar, Mariana Baabar, Shafqat Mahmood, Talat Masood, Zahid Hussain, Saradar Attique Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Ziauddin, Shafqat Kakakhel, Amir Mateen, Arifa Noor, Hamid Mir and Murtaza Solangi, Indian delegates included Prem Shankar Jha, Jayant Prasad, Amit Singh Chadha, Sushhobha Barve, Suhasini Haidar, Jyoti Malhotra, Aakar Patel, Shubhra Chatturvedi and Omair Ahmed.

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