Qureshi calls for direct contact with India to reduce tension

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday told Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood that Pakistan wants to de-escalate tensions with its eastern neighbour.

Tensions between Pakistan and India had escalated rapidly after the Indian Air Force (IAF) violated Pakistan’s undisputed territory following a deadly attack targeting Indian security forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area.

According to the foreign minister, direct contact between the two countries was necessary to reduce tensions prevailing. Qureshi noted that the two countries will hold discussions on March 14 in New Delhi on the Kartarpur corridor, which Prime Minister Imran Khan wants completed swiftly.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Foreign Office (FO) had said a Pakistani delegation will visit New Delhi on March 14. This will be followed by a visit to Islamabad of an Indian delegation on March 28 to discuss the draft agreement on the corridor.

According to the FO, the Indian envoy has been informed that the Pakistani high commissioner to India will be returning to New Delhi after completing consultations in Islamabad.

As per Radio Pakistan, the high commissioner was set to leave for New Delhi following the meeting.

Earlier in the day, while addressing the All Pakistan Chambers of Commerce in Islamabad, Qureshi said that Islamabad wants peace in the region and has taken several steps in this regard.

“Pakistan has informed the countries around the world including P5 about the Indian hostility and Prime Minister Imran Khan has sent a clear message that if India tried to escalate again, Pakistan will strongly retaliate,” he said.