Ready for Talks, Awaiting Response From India: Pakistan Foreign Office


ISLAMABAD (PTI) — Pakistan is ready for talks with India and it is awaiting an official response from New Delhi on how to move forward on the issue, the Pakistan Foreign Office said on Thursday.

“We are ready for talks with India. We have also conveyed our position to the international community. It remains for India to respond,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said during the weekly media briefing in Islamabad.

Recalling the recent statement of Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has opened a political window and India is “filled with cautious hope”, Mr Faisal said, “We want to utilise the same window and see how we can move forward.”

“We are also saying since long that dialogue is the only way forward to settle all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India. We are officially waiting for a response from India on how they want to move forward. We have a consistent position on this,” he said.

Talking about the recent overtures, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also received a letter from his Indian counterpart.

The ties between the two countries had become strained after the terror attacks in India by Pakistan-based groups in 2016. The India-Pakistan ties nose-dived in recent years with no bilateral talks taking place.

Mr Faisal said that there were few Track-II initiatives with India which were not official but added that he had no information about any official back channel currently being operational.

When asked about any formal response from India on the offer to open the Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh pilgrims, he said, “I do not have any information on this.”

He also said Pakistan took “strong exception to the unwarranted references” against it in the joint statement issued after Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue in India.

Mr Faisal said that Pakistan has conveyed its position to the US on the issue.

“Pakistan rejects these baseless allegations (in the joint statement). Accordingly, we have conveyed our position to the US side,” he said.

In the joint statement, India and the US called on Pakistan to ensure that the territory under its control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries.

“On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, they called on Pakistan to bring to justice expeditiously the perpetrators of the Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri, and other cross-border terrorist attacks,” the statement said.

Mr Faisal said that the foreign ministry is of the view that mentioning of a third country with unsubstantiated accusations in a formal outcome document is inconsistent with the established diplomatic norms.

He said ironically “many other thorny issues with involving the third countries were avoided in the Joint Statement by the Indian side on the pretext of the same diplomatic practice.”

Talking of the 26/11 trial, Mr Faisal said it has been ongoing in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Pakistan and the judicial process shall take its course.

He also rejected media reports about any change in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “I completely reject any insinuations against CPEC.”

To a question, he said Imran Khan will visit Saudi Arabia, which will probably be his first foreign trip, without giving further details.

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