A high-level inter-ministerial meeting of the Pakistan government on Wednesday discussed India’s offer for Foreign Secretary-level talks and sought a “meaningful and result-oriented composite dialogue” to resolve outstanding issues and usher in peace and stability in South Asia.
“The meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the government of Pakistan to enter into a meaningful and result-oriented composite dialogue process with India in the interest of peace, development and stability in South Asia and to resolve all outstanding issues between Pakistan and India,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi chaired the inter-ministerial meeting at the Foreign Office that was attended by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik, Director General (South Asia) Afrasiab Mehdi Hashmi and senior officials of the military, ISI and defence and interior ministries.
The inter-ministerial meeting was “convened to consider the Indian offer to resume dialogue with Pakistan and to evolve Pakistan’s views towards the Indian proposal,” the statement said.
India has proposed talks at the level of the Foreign Secretaries later this month. The two sides are yet to decide on a date and venue for the meeting.
Official sources have said that when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao conveyed the proposal for talks to her Pakistani counterpart Mr. Bashir last month, she gave no indication that the parleys would lead to the resumption of the composite dialogue, which was suspended by India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.
The Foreign Office has suggested that Pakistan should adopt a cautious approach and ensure that the talks lead to the full-fledged resumption of the composite dialogue, sources said.
Meanwhile, Dawn News channel quoted its sources as saying that some participants in Wednesday’s inter-ministerial meeting were of the view that the proposed talks will be pointless unless “core issues” like Kashmir are on the agenda.
The sources were quoted as saying that Pakistan should hold talks but ensure that outstanding issues are not set aside.