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April 10, 2021

Will be happy to host Modi: Pakistan re-offers talks to India

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April 10, 2021


ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office once again on Friday offered result-oriented talks to India for solution to the contentious issues including the core issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).

Addressing the weekly media briefing here, Spokesman Zahid Hafiz Chaudhry did not rule out Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan to attend the Saarc Summit if it was held in October and said Pakistan would be happy to host him.

Media reports had been suggesting that contacts between Pakistan and India had progressed and a visit by Modi was likely.

“Pakistan considers Saarc as an important organization for enhancing regional cooperation. As we have ascertained earlier, whenever artificial obstacles created in the way of Saarc Summit are removed, we will be happy to host,” said the spokesman.

In the past, Modi had vetoed the Saarc summit to be held in Islamabad and he was joined by few other Saarc states which saw the postponement of the regional summit.

The spokesman said Pakistan was ready to engage with India and hold talks but only after New Delhi takes some steps which he did not elaborate upon. Pakistan, he maintained, never shied away from talks with India and always emphasized the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“India has vitiated the atmosphere, and the onus is on it to create an enabling and conducive environment for talks between the two countries,” said the spokesman pointing to the August 5, 2019 changes that had been made in IIOJ&K. To a query whether presently talks were continuing between Pakistan and India, the spokesman explained that the states have their ways and means to communicate which remain available even during wars.

“Therefore, whether any talks are taking place between India and Pakistan is not important. What is important is, one, whether Pakistan should talk to India; two, what should be discussed between the two sides; and three, what constitutes conducive environment for a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue”.

Regarding the role of US in talks between Pakistan and India, he reiterated that Pakistan has never shied away from talks and has always underscored the need for a ‘meaningful dialogue’ and peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“As for the role of third parties, including the US is concerned, we believe that the international community has an important role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions,” he said.

In this regard, the spokesman said peace and stability in the region is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We believe durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said.

Responding to a question, the spokesman said so far there had been no progress towards deputation of high commissioners.

The spokesman, when asked to provide information about the defense equipment that Russia had agreed to provide to Pakistan, did not give any details.

Commenting on the recent visit of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who had told the media about Moscow’s decision to provide defense equipment to Pakistan, the spokesman responded, “During the recent visit of the Russian foreign minister, both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation in a range of areas including in the fields of counter-terrorism, defense training and defense equipment”.

Pakistan, he said, desires a long-term, multi-dimensional and strategic partnership with Russia.

“We have close cooperation with Russia in a number of fields including trade, industrialization, defence and security, and energy and infrastructure development”, he added.

APP adds: Meanwhile, Pakistan Friday reiterated its call for an independent probe as the Indian security forces continued to kill innocent civilians in the with seven such extrajudicial killings took place on Thursday.

The extra-judicial killings by the Indian occupation forces continued unabated during the past week as well.

Ten more Kashmiris were martyred in Pulwama and Shopian districts of the IIOJ&K.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Pakistan had repeatedly called for independent investigations under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris.

Pakistan, he said, had also consistently underscored the need for unhindered access to the United Nations human rights bodies, international human rights organizations and media to assess the human rights situation in the IIOJ&K.

The spokesperson said Pakistan was concerned over the continuing military siege, incarceration of the Kashmiri leadership and unprecedented restrictions on fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people.

He also expressed concern over ongoing efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation of international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention.

“The international community must take cognizance of the unabated human rights violations in the IIOJ&K and play its role in resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the spokesperson urged.