India must also act maturely for peace: Khar | Pakistan Today

India must also act maturely for peace: Khar

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said Pakistan was committed to pursue the Indo-Pak peace process for the settlement of all outstanding issues, but its nuclear neighbour must also show maturity and avoid escalation of tensions as that could impact the efforts for peace and stability. In an interview with Pakistan Today Editor Arif Naizami for SAMAA TV’s programme Zeir-e-Bahes, the foreign minister talked at length about important foreign policy issues ranging from relations with India, Pakistan-US ties, war on terror, Afghanistan and regional situation etc.
Unity: She said no doubt Pakistan was facing serious challenges on economic and security fronts, but the notion that the nation stood divided today on national issues was misplaced. “The credit goes to this government that despite hardships, the people of Pakistan stand untied against the menace of terror and this unity is unprecedented,” she said. “Then there are other issues of sovereignty where the whole nation exhibited its unity. Look at the Salala incident, the nation got united after that. There are many other examples during the tenure of present government when the parliament took important decisions on foreign policy matters. For instance, parliamentary review of relations with the United States,” she said.
India: “The present government also showed great maturity as for Pakistan’s relations with the nuclear neighbour, India. Both sides have been engaged positively to resolve different conflicting matters during the tenure of our government.” “During the recent escalation on the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, Pakistan’s response was very responsible and that was noticed not only across the border in India but also worldwide with Pakistani leadership being applauded for showing great level of restraint in the face of disproportionate response showed by India,” she said.
When asked what has been India’s response to Pakistan’s offer of UN probe into the LoC skirmishes as well as talks on this contentious issue between the Indo-Pak foreign ministers, she said, “We have offered India a dialogue on this important issue, which we believe is the best option. We stand by this offer.” Khar said the Indians too had now showed some maturity and the process of de-escalation had started on the LoC. “We don’t believe in hostility and we shall be forthcoming in our response to any positive step by India. It is now Indian turn to come forward and show reciprocity,” she said. To a query on India’s allegations of beheading of Indian soldiers on LoC by Pakistani troops, Khar said, “There is no evidence that India could produce to proof these allegations. Our three soldiers were also killed and we feel pain for them but contrary to India, our response has been that of a responsible and mature nation.”
She said now that there had been political consensus in Pakistan on the need of improving relations with India and the people on both sides of the border yearning for peace, it was high time that New Delhi showed seriousness as for the normalisation of ties.
“If President Asif Ali Zardari supports dialogue with India so does the former prime minister and leader of PML-N Nawaz Sharif. Its time for Islamabad and New Delhi to move forward,” she said. Khar said normal friendly ties between Pakistan and India would have deep positive impact on the regional peace and stability as well as its progress and development. “Unfortunately, SAARC legs far behind in collective progress as compared to other regional organisations like ASEAN and the reason is the ‘ups and downs’ in Indo-Pak ties. SAARC has been made hostage to our bilateral ties,” she added.
Ties with US: Commenting on Pakistan-US relations, Khar said there had been hiccups in ties between Islamabad and Washington during the last 10 years, but efforts were also made during that time to keep the relations on track.
“There has been dark shadow on Pakistan-US relations and that shadow is of Afghanistan,” she said.
She said some people in the US saw Pakistan as a hurdle in efforts to bring back normalcy to the war-torn Afghanistan, but they should know that Pakistan was the major beneficiary of peace in Afghanistan.
“The people who believe in conspiracy theories shall know that Pakistan rendered great sacrifices in the war on terror. Our 70,000 people embraced martyrdom. There were innumerable suicide attacks on our soldiers and civilians and our financial losses were more than 70 billion dollars,” she said.
To a query, Khar said if Pakistan’s strategic shift in Afghanistan was debated upon, then the same could be applied to the United States as well. “After all, who were involved in the making of Mujahideen and the same Mujahideen became Taliban later,” she said.
She said that Pakistan believed that any group that considered violence as means to increase its power was its enemy. “We consider terrorism as a clear and present danger,” she added.
Afghanistan: On the Afghanistan reconciliation process, the foreign minister said Pakistan did not want any driving seat in Afghanistan. “This is a wrong impression, we just want to be the enabler of peace as is desired by the Afghan government,” she said.
“What we are doing to facilitate the Afghanistan reconciliation process is all that Kabul has asked us for. We are releasing the Taliban and we are also planning to hold ‘Pak-Afghan Joint Ulema Conference for the sake of peace in Afghanistan and we have agreed to facilitate the contacts of Afghan government with different other Afghan groups,” Khar said.
Military link: Asked if Pakistan’s foreign policy was devised at the army headquarters, Khar said there had been long tenures of military dictatorships in the country and Pakistan, at present, too was in the phase of transition towards democracy.
“There is a civilian government, which for the first time is completing its constitutional tenure and one shall understand this reality before talking about dominance of military in foreign policy making. There will be two or three more democratic governments and things would become all clear,” she said. “The foreign policy is the domain of executive, a fact which is accepted by all state institutions.”
Commenting on the new US Secretary of State John Kerry, Khar said he (Kerry) was a great friend of Pakistan and had always played a key role in defusing the tensions in Pakistan-US ties.
She also praised the role of outgoing US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.



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4 Comments

  1. J.K. said:

    Terrorism and talks do not go hand in hand. YOu do not trust each other why should an outsider should trust you ???
    You want importance and being seen as someone engaged in peace talks whereas basically you are a terrorist country. Talk are camaflauge to distract. There is no difference between non-state or state actors. But we have to take from a bankrupt failed terroristan…

  2. pro truth said:

    JK do check your own ministers comments about BJP and RSS, Indian own terrorism is also blamed on Pakistan. While RAW is on open spree terror in Pakistan since the Afghan war taking advantage of of the situation, terror within Pakistan or outside is being blamed on Pakistan.

    Afghan war will end and so does the activities of RAW and its cronies.

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