NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has responded to Narendra Modi’s Pakistan Day letter stressing that all outstanding issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir dispute, be solved through dialogue.
“The people of Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours including India. We are convinced that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Khan wrote in a letter dated March 29.
Modi in his letter on March 22 had said India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. “For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility is imperative,” he had said. The letter was seen as a peace gesture to Pakistan. However, officials played it down saying it was a routine practice for New Delhi to send a letter to Islamabad on the occasion of Pakistan Day.
Khan, in his letter, also stressed that creation of an enabling environment is imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue. Relations between India and Pakistan seem to be on the upswing since the joint statement issued by the DGMOs in February reiterating their commitment to strictly enforce the 2003 ceasefire.
Many statements, seen to be soft towards India, have emerged from Pakistan’s top political and military leadership since Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa urged India to bury the past and move forward. Bajwa also said his military was ready for dialogue on Kashmir. Ties between the countries spiraled after the Centre in August 2019 repealed Article 370 and bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories. Reports suggested peace was brokered by the UAE and ceasefire enforcement was only the start.