Don’t lose chances to boost ties: Pakistan to India

Published: 13th July 2012 11:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2012 11:24 AM   |  A+A-

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday expressed hope that both the countries would be able to resolve the ‘solvable disputes,’ even as she urged India not to lose opportunities in improving ties, as it did by delaying the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Pakistan.

“It has been my strong desire that we were able to solve some of the solvable disputes, at least in the near future. For that, in some areas, we require flexibility and in some areas, honour the commitments we had made to each other,” Khar told journalists on the sidelines of Asean ministerial meetings in the Cambodian capital.

In recent months, Pakistan has been pushing India to ‘solve’ the long-standing disputes of Sir Creek and Siachen, both of which had come close to a resolution, but have faced renewed roadblocks in last couple of years.

“Some of the disputes we have like Sir Creek and Siachen... Pakistan has always made it clear that we are willing to go by the agreements we had in the past,” she said.

Indian observers had noted that Pakistan has gone slow on improving trade relations in recent months, with Islamabad insisting Pakthat there should be progress on all fronts in outstanding issues.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister met Krishna in a short informal talk on Thursday morning at the Peace Palace where all the ministerial summit are being held in Phnom Penh. She said that India should not lose the opportunity of the current favourable political leadership inclined towards normalising relations with its neighbour.

Manmohan Visit

Khar pointed out that Pakistan had a long-standing invitation to Manmohan Singh, which ‘should be honoured as early as possible.’

“I know former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s strong desire to receive a person who called him ‘a man of peace’ in his own homeland. We hope that we won’t miss such opportunities in future,” she added.

She noted that both Gilani and Singh had “got along awfully well,” and therefore, the lack of visit by Indian Prime Minister was a ‘lost opportunity.’  Khar asserted there was a ‘systemwide ownership’ in Pakistan to improve relations with India, answering Indian apprehensions that the powerful Pakistani army may not be on the same page. “What we have been able to share in Pakistan is a systemwide ownership of trying to make a difference -- of doing it differently,” she said.   She specifically mentioned that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had ‘immense commitment’ to this cause, which was now also shared by new Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Khar said that she was ‘proud’ that Pakistan has been able to ‘achieve the impossible’ of ‘not indulging in a hostile and negative narrative with India within the Foreign Office of Pakistan.’

“That does not mean that we are not aware of the fact that that we have the issue of Jammu and Kashmir to be resolved but what we are convinced is that that the way to resolve the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, the way to resolve all other issues is through the negotiating table. When we are convinced of that, the only thing we have to invest in is to build the trust,” stated the Foreign Minister.

On the case of Lashkar militant and one of the key 26/11 attack planners Abu Jundal, Khar said that it was “important that we share information with each other before we share information with the media because that is also a trust building measure. It shows that we are serious about resolving the issue rather than making an issue out of the issue.”

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