Pakistan seeks ‘uninterruptible’ peace process with India


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday said peace process with India must be “uninterrupted and uninterruptible” as dialogue was the only way forward to resolve the disputes between the nuclear neighbours.
“Pakistan believes dialogue is the only way forward. This dialogue must be uninterrupted and uninterruptible,” Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said while addressing her weekly press briefing.
On a recent agreement between Islamabad and New Delhi regarding the resumption of peace process that came to halt in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks in 2008, she said that the home and interior secretaries of Pakistan and India would have a meeting in New Delhi on March 28-29 and they would discuss terrorism, counter-narcotics measures and humanitarian issues.
“Pakistan will approach the talks with India with an open mind and a constructive spirit. Pakistan looks forward to positive results from the talks,” she said, adding, “The commerce secretaries of the two countries are scheduled to meet in Islamabad in April and this would be followed by other secretary-level meetings. These meetings would lead up to talks between the foreign secretaries and foreign ministers by July.”
To a query on security for the Pakistani cricket team during the World Cup semi final to be played in India, Tehmina said the Indian government had assured Pakistan that adequate arrangements had been carried out to ensure the safety of the players. “Our high commissioner in New Delhi has been in touch with the Indian authorities to ensure the security of the Pakistani cricket team during its matches in India,” she said.
She said countries that organised mega events like the cricket World Cup were also responsible for the security of participating teams. To another question, the FO spokesman said Pakistan had great concern over the regional stability in North Africa and Middle East.
“We remain seriously concerned over the issues of regional stability and peace and ongoing developments in North Africa and the Middle East. Besides our very close fraternal relations with each state in this broad region, we also have a large expatriate community whose safety and security are of paramount concern to us,” she said.
Tehmina said Pakistan supported reconciliation and dialogue process initiated by the government in Bahrain as it wanted peace and security in the region. “We would not like to see our region destabilised in any way. That is critical. The region, as it is, has faced difficulties because of the situation in Afghanistan,” she said.
Asked to comment on the situation in Bahrain, she said, “As far as Bahrain is concerned, it was an internal decision of the GCC. The GCC decided on the basis of its founding principles that security forces would go to Bahrain.”
“For us, we would like to see peace and security return to Bahrain through reconciliation. As far as the security of Pakistanis is concerned, we have taken up the matter with the Bahraini government. The Crown Prince of Bahrain in a recent statement has underscored the important role of expatriates and assured the security of all expatriates.”
Asked according to the Foreign Office, US Ambassador Cameron Munter was going to Washington to convey Pakistan’s protest on drone attacks directly but he is still in Pakistan, she said. “The programme of the ambassador is not subject to our wishes. He had informed the foreign secretary that he was leaving the next day for Washington and would convey our message directly.”
“If he decided to change his programme, it is not for us to say whether he leaves or does not leave,” she said. Answering another query, she said Pakistan had never tried to block negotiations on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. She said, “In fact some other countries have been engaged in blocking these negotiations for decades.”
On drone attacks, she said, “Pakistan has always opposed them and killing of innocent people is totally unacceptable to it.” “Despite differences on the drone issue Pakistan has made serious efforts to upgrade its relations with the United States,” she said.
Condemning the desecration of the holy Quran in the US, she said, “This fanatic act is a serious threat to religious harmony. Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington and permanent representative in New York have written strong demarche to the US government and the United Nations in which they have highlighted the views of Muslims on the issue.”
“The Pakistani ambassador in Geneva has also taken up the issue at Human Rights Council by condemning this act on behalf of the OIC and Pakistan. This act is totally unacceptable as it is also a threat to peace and security besides disturbing inter-religious harmony,” she said.