‘No use if India sticks to only terror talks’
Pakistan Tuesday said it wants all bilateral issues, including Kashmir, to be discussed at the Foreign Secretary-level talks on Thursday and feels much progress would not be made if India restricts the dialogue to a "narrow agenda" of terrorism.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is here on an official visit, hoped that the Composite Dialogue process between the two countries would be resumed in the near future.
"It (Indo-Pak Foreign Secretaries meeting) is going to be an exploratory meeting... Pakistan government is seriously working to improve relations with India. We seek peaceful settlement of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir with India," Qureshi said.
He was speaking to the media after delivering a lecture on 'Pakistan's Challenges and our Response' at the China Institute of International Studies, a think-tank, here.
"We want all issues that are of concern of both sides brought on to the table to that dialogue is serious meaningful and result oriented. We have to see what comes out of the 25th meeting," he said.
"If India restricts the agenda or tries to narrow it down to its own immediate needs then much progress will not be reached," he said, apparently referring to comments by some Indian officials that terrorism would dominate the talks.
Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet in New on February 25.
Qureshi said India had agreed through a joint communique that acts of terrorism would not impede the process of dialogue before suspending the talks after the "unfortunate incidents" of terror in.
"We hope that the composite dialogue process would be resumed in the near future. Pakistan has recognised the significance and the progress made through the four rounds of Composite dialogue."
When an Indian journalist pointed out that Pakistan has not done much to contain India specific terror groups, Qureshi said Islamabad has taken prominent steps in that direction.
"For the sake of discussion let us agree that we have not done enough does that qualify for suspending dialogue and does that invite greater understanding and cooperation.
"Should we shut our minds and look other directions realising that there is common challenge we are facing?" he asked.
The two countries should display more cooperation by holding talks to understand each others concerns "instead of policy followed by India in suspending talks".
"I think that there was a realisation in India that (suspension of talks) was a negative and kneejerk reaction and I am glad you are rethinking on that. So as far being effected by terrorism is concerned, does India realise the challenge Pakistan is facing?" the Foreign Minister asked.
Qureshi said Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan during their meeting at Sharm-el-Sheikh in July last year had agreed that dialogue is the only way forward.
"If we have the same the spirit, the spirit with which Pakistan is displaying, the constructive approach thorough which we are approaching the dialogue, obviously the progress will be made and we will take the next step for resumption of the composite dialogue," he said.
"Can you understand the human loss that we had. Can you calculate the very obvious hidden economic costs Pakistan has paid on account of terrorism.
"We are victims as much as perhaps more than India is (of terrorism). Instead of accusing each other let us sit together and find out to collectively defeat the forces that are trying to undermining the peace and stability of the region," Qureshi said.