- PM says Pakistan and India must resolve all issues, including Kashmir, for benefit of both peoples
- Says those criticising Navjot Sidhu for attending oath-taking are doing ‘a great disservice’ to peace in sub-continent
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday once again invited India to dialogue and pursue peace, terming it the “best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent”.
In a tweet, PM Khan said, “To move forward Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts incl Kashmir: The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading.”
To move forward Pakistan and India must dialogue and resolve their conflicts incl Kashmir: The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading https://t.co/V2UkXp0WwS
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2018
In an earlier tweet, the newly-elected PM thanked his fellow Indian cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu for coming all the way to Pakistan and be part of his oath-taking ceremony that took place earlier this week.
In his tweet, he said, “I want to thank Sidhu for coming to Pakistan for my oath taking. He was an ambassador of peace & was given amazing love & affection by ppl of Pakistan.”
He further commented on the criticism received by Sidhu for the same and said, “Those in India who targeted him are doing a gt disservice to peace in the subcontinent – without peace, our ppl cannot progress.”
I want to thank Sidhu for coming to Pakistan for my oath taking. He was an ambassador of peace & was given amazing love & affection by ppl of Pakistan. Those in India who targeted him are doing a gt disservice to peace in the subcontinent – without peace our ppl cannot progress
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 21, 2018
The incumbent regime had also extended an olive branch to India a day earlier, when newly-appointed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had made clear that he would pursue dialogue with the neighbouring rival as a way forward.
“Us coming to the table and talking peace is our only option. We need to stop the adventurism and come together. We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage,” Qureshi had said. “We cannot turn our cheek. Yes we have outstanding issues. Kashmir is a reality; it is an issue that both our nations acknowledge.”
“We need a continued and uninterrupted dialogue. This is our only way forward,” he had stressed.
“We may have a different approach and line of thinking, but I want to see a change in how we behave,” he had added. “India and Pakistan have to move forward keeping realities before them.”
The new foreign minister had also dismissed fears that attempts to mend fences with India will be met with resistance from the so-called ‘establishment’.
“There are pre-conceived notions about where the foreign policy of Pakistan was formulated,” he said on Tuesday.
“Let me be clear: the foreign policy will be made here ─ at the Foreign Office of Pakistan.”
“I will engage with all the institutions for the betterment of the country,” he said, adding: “It is the policy across the world. Feedback is sought from national security institutions.”
Qureshi also said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted at resuming talks with Pakistan in his congratulatory message to Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to Indian media reports that quoted ‘credible government sources’, Modi didn’t express his wish for dialogue in a letter to Pakistan PM, but it did mention “India is committed to peaceful ties”.
Modi’s letter as shared by TimesNow stated, “Polls and the smooth transition strengthen belief in democracy.” It added that Modi said shared belief will bring peace and prosperity to the subcontinent and make it free from terrorism and violence.
Following that, the Foreign Office rejected the Indian media claims and stated that Foreign Minister Qureshi never stated that “Indian Prime Minister made an offer of a dialogue”.
The FO statement said that the FM had not stated that “the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue”, but had said that the Indian premier in his letter to PM Imran Khan had also mentioned something similar to what the foreign minister elucidated earlier – that the way forward was only through constructive engagement.