Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said it was ready to show flexibility while engaging with India but insisted that dialogue between equals cannot be conditional.
Briefing the media on his meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Thursday, he added that while Pakistan was ever ready to engage with India, it was neither in a hurry nor ready to talk on Indian terms and conditions.
“If we only stress on issues that are core to India and ignore those of significance to us, then this process cannot move forward,” Mr. Qureshi said during an interaction with the media just as Mr. Krishna was wrapping up his three-day visit to Islamabad with meetings with the political leadership of Pakistan. Senior leaders of the Awami National Party and Muttahida Quami Movement called on him in his hotel after which he visited Punjab House for a meeting with Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif en route the airport.
Advocating the resumption of composite dialogue — under whatever nomenclature — Mr. Qureshi said: “I think that whatever we have achieved in four years should not be wasted. We should build on it and not start afresh.''
Pakistan, according to the Minister, from the very beginning has maintained that it was prepared for talks but they should be substantive, meaningful and result-oriented. “If they have a limited mandate for talks, then we can wait till they are ready.”
On his silence to Mr. Krishna's charge that Pakistan had not provided a “shred of evidence” to substantiate its contention that India has a hand in the unrest in Balochistan, Mr. Qureshi sought to point out the compulsions of being a host.
As for Kashmir, he said it remained Pakistan's core concern while both countries agreed that terrorism was a common enemy. Stating that Kashmir was a disputed territory and has always been part of India-Pakistan negotiations, he referred to the recent violence in the Valley and said how could Pakistan remain indifferent to it.
During the joint press conference with Mr. Krishna on Thursday after three rounds of talks, Mr. Qureshi had said that Kashmir was taken up and sought to point out that he had got representations from three Kashmir-based organisations to highlight rights violations, imposition of curfew and use of Indian armed forces for maintenance of law and order.
While he steered clear of the reference made to the Inter Services Intelligence involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks by Indian Home Secretary G. K. Pillai, security analysts said that was unnecessary. “India should do quiet diplomacy. The more frontal India is the more difficult it becomes for the Government of Pakistan; especially to deal with other institutions. India is pushing us too publicly and the more it happens, the more it becomes difficult to deliver.”