Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he is looking forward to telephonic talks with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna on Tuesday to decide the modalities for future “uninterrupted” dialogue between the two sides to resolve bilateral issues.
“While the two countries had agreed to come back to the negotiating table to discuss all the issues, in order for the peace process to achieve concrete results it was important that the dialogue between the two countries continued uninterruptedly,” Mr. Qureshi was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
The India-Pakistan peace process can achieve concrete results only if the dialogue between the two countries continues without interruption, Mr. Qureshi said.
Mr. Qureshi made the remarks while speaking at a meeting with a group of former foreign ministers, foreign secretaries and ambassadors to consult them on the resumption of the peace process with India.
Mr. Qureshi said he was “looking forward to having a telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart Krishna tomorrow” to decide the modalities for future talks between the two sides.
He also said Pakistan wants to sustain the “momentum generated” during the meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the SAARC summit at Thimphu, Bhutan.
He expressed the hope that a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers would take place “sooner rather than later so that the peace process could be resumed without further delay.”
Briefing the group of former ministers and officials about the Thimphu meeting, Mr. Qureshi said the two Prime Ministers had agreed to take cognisance of “each other’s concerns and resume the peace process in the spirit of resolving all the issues on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect.”
Mr. Gilani and Mr. Singh also agreed to take “necessary measures towards promoting mutual confidence and mutual trust,” he said.
Mr. Qureshi said terrorism is a “regional issue and had to be dealt with through cooperation.”
Mr. Qureshi also held an in-depth discussion with the former ministers and official on the Kashmir issue and a way forward. He said that the government had taken a “principled position on this core issue.”
He also said he “strongly believed that no viable solution of the dispute could be found and implemented unless it was in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
It was encouraging that the Kashmiri leadership across the board had welcomed the resumption of dialogue, he added. Mr. Qureshi welcomed suggestions made by the participants and appreciated their observations.
Most of the participants were of the view that resumption of the dialogue process is a “significant development” after the extended suspension of talks following the Mumbai terror attacks.
According to the statement, the former ministers and officials said it was “important that the leadership on both sides demonstrated vision and perseverance and tried their utmost to nudge the peace process towards concrete results.”
The meeting was attended by Abdul Sattar, Akram Zaki, Tanvir A Khan, Shehryar M Khan, Riaz H Khokhar, Aziz Ahmad Khan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Asif Ezdi Shah and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
On Thursday, Mr. Krishna had said India had decided to have a dialogue as there has been a “transformation” in ties with assurance coming at the level of Pakistan Prime Minister that India’s “core concern” with regard to terrorism would be addressed adequately.
India has been maintaining that it was willing to remain engaged with Pakistan but the latter would have to address the “core” concern of cross-border terrorism before a substantive dialogue could be resumed.
Pakistan, on the other side, wants resumption of Composite Dialogue which was stalled by India after the Mumbai attacks in 2008.