Friday, July 29
Hina Rabbani Khar for Indo-Pak goody goodies
While reiterating the mutual stance of Pakistan and India that talks should be uninterruptible and irreversible, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has maintained that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured that his country is sincere to work positively and resolve all outstanding issues.
“India won’t be found wanting on any front,” she quoted Singh saying, adding that the Indian premier had accepted invitation to visit Pakistan, and the date of visit and modalities were yet to be finalised. “Their message is that India wants a stable Pakistan,” she further added.
While speaking to the media upon her arrival from New Delhi at Lahore Airport on Thursday evening along with Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, she also stated that so far both nuclear neighbours had not budged even an inch from their respective previously stated positions about contentious issues during the recent meetings with the Indian leadership, though they had agreed to continue the dialogue process, enhance Confidence Building Measures and involve in actualising trust. “The effort is to converge on mutually agreed points despite divergently stated positions,” she averred.
Ms Khar fell short of divulging details regarding the Indian interference in Balochistan and its ever-increasing influence in the war-torn Afghanistan, when she stated that practically every issue, whether strategic or political, was discussed. “I cannot divulge details of dialogue in closed rooms to keep sanctity of the discussion intact,” she maintained, while replying to a question on the subject.
To another query about Kashmir and water discords, she mentioned that so far no one of the both sides had digressed from their stated positions. However, she added that they had discussed all the issues, and Pakistan had not deviated from its principle stance of resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions, which was not brought under focus.
When quizzed about the time limit for resolving the Kashmir issue, she asserted that no time frame could be outlined for this.
About water dispute, she asserted that Pakistan had to maintain the sanctity of the Indus Waters Treaty. “We had, are and will keep on raising the issue with India since moving ahead and resolving disputes is in the interest of Pakistan as well,” she pledged.
Hina Rabbani Khar mentioned that she had held meetings with the Kashmiri leaders much to the disliking of the Indians and their media.
While underlining the need for people-centric approach, she was of the considered opinion that the relations between two estranged neighbours would be turning over a new leaf. “Relations between Pakistan and India will be taking a new direction since the Indian government has shown its determination to continue towards resolving issues,” she observed, adding that talks were held in a constructive and positive atmosphere with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna and others, and it was a move towards normalising relations with India.
About Mumbai attacks and belligerence of the Indian media, the foreign minister said after the Mumbai attacks, the need for reducing tensions between the two countries was of paramount importance despite the fact that there existed equal harshness on many aspects on sides of the divide. “Both countries are moving ahead though they can have different outlooks. We are willing to face all challenges,” she vowed, adding that she had reassured Indians that Pakistan would not put any obstacles in the way to find a fair resolution.
In the context of Indian’s allegation that Pakistan was delaying the probe into Mumbai attacks, Ms Khar was of the opinion that finger-pointing would not be of any use though both countries could continue to have differences. However, she stressed that no country or region could progress without peace.
While replying to a question about increasing trade ties sans resolving the contentious issues, she conceded that certain concerns had to be addressed.
To a question about the focus of the Indian media about ‘youngest Pakistani female foreign minister visiting an enemy country, she said it was part of the paparazzi, and perhaps the Pakistan media could have done the same in given circumstances.
Earlier, while initiating the press conference with a brief and referring to the joint statement post Khar-Krishna meeting, the Pakistani foreign showed her satisfaction with the talks. “We can safely say that a new era of engagement, understanding, confronting the challenges and relations to continue has begun,” she said, asserting that if the momentum had been gained, then a lot of ground work was to be done. She mentioned that bilateral relations, peace and security, economic cooperation, water issue, visa regime, and promotion of friendly exchanges. “Intention is to reconvene the dialogue process, which is a sign of normalising the relations,” he opined.
Ms Khar also underlined that need for carrying forward the dialogue process by establishing good neighbourly relations between two countries.