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Updated: July 26, 2011 23:31 IST

"Re-engagement better than no engagement"

Anita Joshua
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The Hindu

Looking at India as a neighbour and not an “enemy”, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar set out for New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon with the hope of a constructive dialogue process that would remain “uninterrupted” and “uninterruptible” as this was crucial for peace and development in the region.

In a brief interaction with the media at Lahore airport, Ms. Khar said: “Re-engagement is better than no engagement” and maintained that both countries were visibly committed to resolving outstanding issues through negotiation.

Advocating the need to learn from history instead of being burdened by it, the Minister stressed the need to remain realistic and pragmatic while being optimistic about building on “some forward movement” made in the past few months.

Asked about India repeatedly making terrorism the focus of the dialogue process, Ms. Khar’s contention was that there was a convergence of views in the region against terrorism. “We are at the forefront of the global effort against terrorism; we are also its greatest victim. Other countries also have a commitment against terrorism and that shows a convergence of views within the region.”

Prior to heading for Delhi, Ms. Khar met Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani where she briefed him about her meeting on Monday with the chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the entire political leadership of the country has also been taken into confidence ahead of this ministerial engagement with India. Mr. Gilani himself spoke to the various party leaders and secured their support for not just this engagement but a sustained and constructive process.


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