Committed to resuming talks with India: Pak

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 20:13

Islamabad: Insisting that "war is not an
option" in the region, Pakistan on Tuesday said it is committed to
resuming the dialogue process with India as talks are the only
way forward to improve the bilateral ties.

Mutual cooperation and dialogue are the only way forward
and will benefit both countries, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi told reporters after a function at the Foreign Office
Training Academy here.

"We have to engage to resolve all issues," he said.

Asked about India`s recent launch of its first
nuclear-powered submarine `INS Arihant`, he said "Pakistan
does not want to follow an arms race in the region but there
is balance due to the strategic ability of Pakistan."
"This balance clearly indicates that war in not an option
in the region and it will be a suicidal attempt," he said.

Though Pakistan has taken "serious notice" of the launch
of the nuclear submarine, it "is fully aware of its defence
needs and confident of its defence strength," he said, adding
the country also has no aggressive designs against anyone.

As dialogue is the only way forward and there did not
seem to be any lack of will among leaders of Pakistan and
India, it is expected that the dialogue process will resume
soon, Qureshi said.

"There is a need for leaders of both countries to adopt a
careful and optimistic attitude for the resumption and success
of the dialogue process...With positive attitudes, we can make
progress," he said.

The atmosphere could not be made conducive for parleys
unless both countries start cooperating and engaging each
other with mutual respect, Qureshi said.

Pakistan and India are both victims of terrorism and
cooperation in the fight against this menace is the need of
the hour, he added.

Following the meeting between Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani
and his counterpart Manmohan Singh at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt
last month, Pakistani and Indian leaders had expressed their
willingness to resume the dialogue process as it is the only
way forward, he said.

The Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India will meet
before the annual General Assembly session of the UN and
then present their report to the two Foreign Ministers, who
will meet on the sidelines of the world body`s session in
September.

Replying to a question about the sharing of information
between intelligence agencies of Pakistan and India, Qureshi
said "engagement at any level is possible."

He clarified that both countries have a joint mechanism
for sharing information and fighting terrorism. With more
interaction, the mechanism could be further improved, he said.
Answering another query about information provided by
Pakistan to India regarding alleged Indian interference in
Balochistan province, Qureshi said the issue was discussed by
the Prime Ministers and Foreign Secretaries of the two sides
in Sharm el-Sheikh.

"I believe sensitive matters should be handled carefully
and through diplomatic sources instead of handling (them)
through the media," Qureshi said.

Referring to the additional information provided
to Pakistan by India on the Mumbai attacks, he said this
material is necessary to make the case against persons
arrested by Pakistani authorities "more logically tenable in
the court."

The case is in progress in court and "more tangible
and logical evidence" is required so that it could be taken
to its conclusion, he added.

Five Lashker-e-Taiba operatives, including its operations
commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, are currently being tried by
an anti-terror court in Rawalpindi for alleged involvement in
planning and facilitating the Mumbai attacks.

Qureshi also said he could make "any big promise" on the
Pakistan-India relations but made it clear that Islamabad
wanted to have dialogue with New Delhi based on reality.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 20:13

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