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Pakistan Ready to Hold Talks If India Revisits Some Decisions, Says Shah Mahmood Qureshi

File photo of Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

File photo of Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

He said Pakistan had outstanding issues with India including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, water and other minor issues and the only sensible way forward was the dialogue.

Pakistan would be "more than happy" to talk to India and resolve the outstanding issues if New Delhi was willing to "revisit" some of its decisions to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said. Indo-Pak relations deteriorated after India announced withdrawing special powers of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into two union territories in August, 2019. India has maintained that issue related to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was entirely an internal matter of the country.

"If India is willing to revisit some of the decisions that it took on August 5, 2019, Pakistan will be more than happy to engage, sit and talk and resolve all outstanding issues, Qureshi said in an interview with Turkey's Anadolu Agency which was carried by Dawn newspaper on Monday. He said Pakistan had outstanding issues with India including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, water and other minor issues and the only sensible way forward was the dialogue.

"We cannot afford to go to war, you know, it will be mutually suicidal. And no sensible person will advocate a policy of that nature. So, we need to sit and we need to talk," said Qureshi, who is in Turkey on a two-day visit. India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence. India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility.

Qureshi said one recent development of recommitment to ceasefire during the conversation between directors general of Military Operations of both sides was a positive development. India and Pakistan in a surprise announcement said on February 25 that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir and other sectors. Qureshi also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's messages on Pakistan's National Day last month and a goodwill message to Prime Minister Imran Khan who also responded positively to it.

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So, there is some thought. It is too early to make a value judgment on that, he said. Last month, Pakistan's powerful Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that it was time for India and Pakistan to "bury the past and move forward as he asserted that the peace between the two neighbours would help to unlock the potential of South and Central Asia.

The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. Gen Bajwa's remarks came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan made a similar statement.

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