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Pakistan hopeful of resumption of talks with India soon: Basit

PTI 16 Nov 2014, 21:29:14 PM IST

Hyderabad: Observing that there is no complete “shutdown” in diplomacy, Pakistan's High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit today hoped the stalled dialogue process with India would resume soon even as he underlined the importance of “adhering to” the ceasefire agreement by both the countries.

“Minister for External Affairs Hon'ble Sushma Swaraj had said there are no full stops in diplomacy. I concur with her that in diplomacy...You do not completely shut it down. So, let's hope there are possibilities that will emerge. So, I am hopeful,” Basit said in a media interaction at the Hyderabad Press Club.

Asked where Pakistan stands with regard to India's stance that Pakistan talk to it directly rather than involving separatist groups in the process, he said Jammu and Kashmir is a problem between the countries and that both countries should try to establish peace.

“Jammu and Kashmir is a problem between our two countries.  It is part of the composite dialogue process as well. So, we hope that whenever we resume the dialogue process, we will be able to build on the past accomplishments and move forward.  Because, peace is in our mutual interest,” he said.  

India had called off the scheduled foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan in August, objecting to its envoy meeting Kashmiri separatists on the eve of the dialogue.  Replying to a query on continued ceasefire violations by Pakistan, the High Commissioner said his country held a different view on the issue, but stressed that both countries should abide by the previous agreements.  

“As far as ceasefire violations are concerned, obviously our position is different. I am sure all of you know our position is different. But, without getting into who is violating the ceasefire which was agreed upon back in 2003, I think it is important that we adhere to the ceasefire agreement.

“And, not only the ceasefire agreement, I think both Pakistan and India need to comply with all the agreements, MoUs, declarations they have signed... Compliance would enable us to build further content,” he said.

Talks with “openness” and “eventual peace” between India and Pakistan would bring economic benefits to both the countries, Basit said.

Noting that Pakistan itself has been a victim of terrorism and having suffered heavily on account of that, the High Commissioner hoped that “stability would herald in Pakistan with Afghanistan, under the new leadership, moving towards stability”.

When asked who actually rules Pakistan, he said an elected government has handed over power to another elected government and that it takes time for democracy to take root.  Replying to a query, Basit said the effort should be made to see that relations between the two countries grow as there is a convergence on the agendas of Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.  

“The effort should be to see that relations are built. The agenda of our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saab is economic development. And the agenda of Prime Minister Modi saab is also development. The agendas of both governments meet. There is convergence. So, there is no reason why we cannot face the challenges together. The need is that we complement each other,” he said.

Basit also proposed that Hyderabad and its namesake in Pakistan have sisterly relations and also exchange of visits by journalists.

The High Commissioner is likely to meet senior leaders of Telangana government here tomorrow.