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Desire Peaceful Ties With India, Want to Sort Diplomats' Harassment Issue Soon: Pakistan Envoy

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat attended the event at the Pakistan embassy which was also joined by diplomats from a number of countries.

PTI

Updated:March 23, 2018, 11:13 PM IST
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Desire Peaceful Ties With India, Want to Sort Diplomats' Harassment Issue Soon: Pakistan Envoy
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New Delhi: Pakistan wants to sort out "as soon as possible" the issue of alleged harassment of diplomats, its High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood said on Friday and asserted that Islamabad desired "peaceful and good-neighbourly" relations with India.

In an address at a reception to mark Pakistan National Day, Mahmood, referring to overall ties between the two countries, said building a future different from the past remains indispensable and hoped that there would be hard reflection by both sides on the "time lost" and the "opportunities missed".

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat attended the event at the Pakistan embassy which was also joined by diplomats from a number of countries. Some low-ranking leaders from a number of separatist outfits from Kashmir also attended the reception.

Mahmood, who came back to India last night, a week after he was called to Islamabad for consultations amid the raging row between India and Pakistan over harassment of diplomats, at a separate event earlier in the day, said such issues affect the relations between the two countries.

"I discussed this issue (alleged harassment of Pakistani diplomats in India) with our government. We want to sort out this issue as soon as possible because it affects the relations between the countries," he said.

In his brief address at the reception in the evening, the Pakistan envoy said, "I do hope that at this pivotal moment, with India and Pakistan at 70, there would be hard reflection on the time lost, and the opportunities missed."

"Building a future different from the past remains indispensable. We owe it to our next generations. We must give them a future of hope and opportunities. I hope we can prove equal to the task and work purposefully to advance the worthy goals of honourable peace, equal security, and shared prosperity," he said.

In this context, Mahmood also talked about Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's communication with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the Republic Day in January where Abbasi had expressed the hope that the years to come would be different from the years gone by. The envoy also said that Pakistan's "endeavours" to fight the scourge of terrorism continue to move "apace, as reflected in the success of operations Zarb-e-Azb and Raad al Fasaad".

Mahmood was called back to Islamabad for consultations after alleged incidents of harassment of its diplomatic staff in New Delhi, with the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson claiming the Indian government failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of Pakistani diplomats, their families and staff by its intelligence agencies.

India and Pakistan have accused each other of harassing diplomats in Islamabad and New Delhi. Mahmood said, "Pakistan desired peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. It was important to resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, peacefully through dialogue."

He also said that peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.

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| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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