Dialogue only option to resolve Indo-Pak dispute: Qureshi


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has stated that dialogue is the only option to resolve all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan.

Responding to a call attention notice in Senate, the minister said the premier immediately after assuming power offered India to come to dialogue table in order to remove illiteracy and poverty from the region. He said Pakistan needs peace at both eastern and western fronts.

Referring to the canceled meeting between foreign ministers of both counties on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York earlier this year, he said India had initially agreed on the meeting but later backtracked due to domestic political compulsions. He said India’s political leadership was hesitant due to the upcoming general elections next year.

The foreign minister said the Pakistani response was very measured and mature in which it was said that Pakistan is willing to engage in the dialogue. Regarding the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, he said the gesture by Pakistan was made for peace and completing the longstanding demand of the Sikh community to visit one of their holy sites.

He said the Indian cabinet held a meeting and decided to reciprocate this gesture and did the groundbreaking a day earlier than Pakistan. They also sent two of their ministers to attend the ceremony in Pakistan. A group of 50 Indian journalists also attended the Kartarpur Corridor ceremony in Pakistan, he informed.

The FM said a stable and peaceful neighborhood is Pakistan’s requirement in order to improve the socio-economic conditions. He said India must realise the high price Pakistan paid in fighting the war against terror. He said no other nation has sacrificed 75,000 people in this war, besides suffering losses of billions of rupees. He said all credit goes to people and armed forces of Pakistan who have exhibited their resilience.

The house was informed that the government of Pakistan is regularly in touch with the Afghan government for access to information regarding Pakistani prisoners in Afghanistan and their repatriation to Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Qureshi in a written response during the question hour session said the government has raised this issue as one of the agenda points of all bilateral engagements with Afghanistan.

He said during the inaugural session of Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace held in Kabul in July this year, the issue was discussed during talks with Afghan deputy foreign minister.

Pakistan embassy in Kabul has arranged repatriation of 17 Pakistani prisoners released from Afghan jails from 20th February to 30th August this year. From the period August 20th to this month, four Pakistani prisoners were released and repatriated to Pakistan, he told the house.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said that the United States and Taliban held dialogues due to the efforts of Pakistan and the credit goes to the incumbent government. The minister said that the region needs peace and stability, adding that peace is also needed for economic development.