Pakistan has renewed its offer to hold dialogue with India to resolve contentious issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and terrorism, to restore peace in the region and address the problems confronting the people of the two countries.
The offer was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in a letter written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to felicitate him on assuming office for a second term after a thumping victory of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent national elections.
In his letter, PM Khan has emphasised that the two sides should shun their differences. In his previous letter, he had agreed to hold talks on the issue of terrorism on India’s demand.
According to the state-run Radio Pakistan, the prime minister in his letter has underscored Pakistan’s consistent policy of peaceful neighbourhood and the vision of working for durable peace and stability in South Asia with peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
The prime minister also emphasised the need to work together on the basis of mutual respect and trust to address challenges faced by the people of both the countries, including poverty and underdevelopment.
Khan has emphasised the need for advancing the goals of regional peace, progress and prosperity through collective endeavours.
Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal while confirming that the prime minister had sent a fresh letter to Mr Modi reiterated Pakistan’s resolve that Islamabad was ready to hold fresh round of talks with New Delhi, “if India is ready to do so”.
On the other hand, the External Affairs Ministry of India announced that there was no bilateral meeting planned between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting next week.
Both Mr Khan and Mr Modi are scheduled to attend a summit of the regional bloc, which is to take place in Kyrgyzstan on June 13-14.
It is expected that the two leaders will come face-to-face and might even have a handshake when the world leaders at the summit gather for a photo session at its conclusion.
“We are ready to meet the Indian prime minister during the summit, if India agrees to do so,” said Dr Faisal.
He reiterated that negotiations were the only solution to all the problems confronting the two countries.
Mr Modi was re-elected prime minister for a second consecutive time when his Hindu nationalist BJP-led National Democratic Alliance secured highest-ever 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha (lower house of the parliament) after the recent polls.
Soon after coming to power last year, PM Khan had expressed the hope that sour relations between the nuclear neighbours would become normal after the Indian elections and was of the view that Indian leaders were giving anti-Pakistan statements to gain people’s support in the polls.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has also written a letter to newly-appointed Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and congratulated him on assuming office.