Islamabad: A day after blaming India for
the "last-minute hitch" in talks, Foreign Minister Shah
Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Pakistan is "very serious" about
normalising bilateral ties so that the two sides could make a
"new beginning of normal relations."
"We are very serious about normalising our relations with
India. I met with my Indian counterpart in Islamabad just day
before yesterday. We agreed to embark on a sustained dialogue
process," Qureshi said.
The decision to continue the talks is a "good augury," he
"For too long, Pakistan and India have been entangled in
a conflictual relationship. It is high time our two countries
engage, with full sincerity of purpose, to resolve all
bilateral disputes and make a new beginning of normal
relations anchored in sovereign equality and mutual interest,"
Qureshi said normal relations between Pakistan and India
will have "far-reaching salutary effects" for South Asia and
"Pakistan will do its utmost to make this happen," he
said in his opening remarks at a meeting of officials of the
Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) forum.
Sharp differences arose during talks between Qureshi and
his Indian counterpart S M Krishna here on Thursday over a
roadmap and timeframe for future engagements.
The two ministers engaged in verbal jousting after their
talks, with Qureshi even claiming that the parleys had not
gone well because Krishna repeatedly received instructions
from New Delhi during the talks.
"It is the nature of India-Pakistan talks that
whenever there is progress, there is always a last-minute
hitch. There was no hitch from Pakistan`s side," Qureshi said
Krishna rejected Pakistan`s contention that India was
not ready to discuss all issues and asserted that all "core"
and "burning" problems were deliberated upon with the aim of
reducing trust deficit.
Qureshi today referred to a wide range of issues during
his speech at the FODP meeting, including the situation in
Afghanistan and Pakistan`s reconstruction efforts in parts of
the country affected by militancy and violence.