Never Had Much Expectations From Sushma Swaraj, Says Pakistan’s Foreign Minister
Speaking to News18, the Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi once again extended an invite to Swaraj for engagement and said that “we should look for a soft landing” like a Saarc summit if bilateral engagement seems like a bridge too far to India.
File photos of Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Sushma Swaraj.
A day after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj ruled out “Kartarpur diplomacy” could lead to any thaw in ties, her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked her to reconsider the possibility of dialogue between the two nations.
Speaking to News18, the Pakistan foreign minister once again extended an invite to Swaraj for engagement and said that “we should look for a soft landing” like a Saarc summit if bilateral engagement seems like a bridge too far to India.
Swaraj, just before the foundation-laying ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan, had made it clear that there would be no Saarc summit in Pakistan until the neighbour checks cross-border terrorism.
She had also rejected Pakistan’s invite for Wednesday’s ceremony and India had instead sent union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri.
Qureshi said he was “not disappointed” by Swaraj not attending the ceremony as he “never had much expectation” from her.
During the Kartarpur ceremony, Pakistan PM Imran Khan that all actors, including the army, are backing the peace process. His statement had come hours after Swaraj had reiterated that terror and talks can’t go together.
But when Qureshi was asked why the so-called “bold leadership” of Pakistan is looking at peripheral ways like Kartarpur to improve ties and not acting on India’s core demand - decisive action against 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed - he said bold leadership was required from both sides.
“For that legally tenable evidence is required. The matter is sub-judice so I will not want to go into it,” he replied.
The many hurdles between substantial discussions between India and Pakistan were also surmised by Imran Khan’s remarks on Wednesday as he dragged in the Kashmir issue at the ground-breaking Kartarpur ceremony. He also asked whether peace would have to wait till Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu became India’s PM.
The foreign ministry said it was deeply regrettable that Khan chose to politicise the “pious occasion” by making an unwarranted reference to Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral and inalienable part of India.
“Pakistan is reminded that it must fulfil its international obligations and take effective and credible action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross-border terrorism from territories under its control,” the foreign ministry said.
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