Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quresh has said that war with India is not an option and seeking a constructive dialogue was the key component of the new government’s policies.
Responding to questions put forwarded by James Bays conducting interview for Qatar based Al-Jazeera TV in New York at the sidelines of UN General Assembly, Mr Qureshi said the new government had inherited strained relations with two key countries — India and the United States — and was working to improve ties with both.
Referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s July 26 peace offer to India, Pakistan’s foreign minister Qureshi said that seeking a constructive dialogue with India was a key component of the new government’s policies.
He said, “What we did…we thought made sense. Two neighbours with outstanding issues, atomic powers. How do you fix things? War is no option. There is no military solution: the only solution is a dialogue.”
Qureshi’s remarks came as US Principal Deputy Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, in one her interview with BBC, said that peace in South Asia was key to the region’s prosperity and urged Islamabad to work for it.
Alice Wells was quoted saying: “We welcome PM Khan’s statements about peace with neighbours and any steps Pakistan takes for this purpose.”
On September 21, India had cancelled foreign minister level bilateral meeting between Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in less than 24 hours of confirming.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs cited abduction and killing of three J&K policemen and the recent release of postal stamps glorifying slain Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani as the reason behind calling off the talks.
Mr Qureshi said that some other nations also recognised Pakistan’s strategic location and understood its importance, “so, we are not alone, everyone has options”.
Alice Wells acknowledged that Pakistan was “an important country in the region (and has) an important part to play”. Asked what were her expectations from the new Pakistani government, she said: “We have the same expectations that we have from other governments in South Asia.”
She said the Trump administration’s South Asia policy sought to eradicate all “terrorist activities” and “non-state actors” from the region. “We have told Pakistan before that terrorists’ groups are still active in the country and they need to be eliminated,” she added.