Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan is willing to improve ties with India. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Friday, Qureshi said the government wanted to address all outstanding matters, including Kashmir, through dialogue.
Qureshi said India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had congratulated him on his appointment. “It takes two to tango,” Qureshi said. “You cannot clap with just one hand. We have a positive stance and will remain hopeful.”
The foreign minister said Pakistan would not shy away from engaging with India despite the current impasse. He also discussed other foreign policy matters, including the country’s strained ties with the United States and Islamabad’s inclusion in a Financial Action Task Force watch list. The task force, an intergovernmental body that sets standards for fighting illicit finance globally, added Pakistan to a list of nations not doing enough to clamp down on financial operations of terrorists and terrorist groups.
On August 20, Pakistan backtracked after Qureshi claimed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had written to Imran Khan about initiating bilateral dialogue. Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that the minister had “not stated that the Indian prime minister had made an offer of a dialogue”. The ministry said Qureshi meant that Modi had written to Khan saying that the way forward was through constructive engagement.
Qureshi had said dialogue was the only option and that the two countries need to stop “adventurism and come together”. “We know the issues are tough and will not be solved overnight, but we have to engage... We cannot turn our cheek. Yes we have outstanding issues. Kashmir is a reality; it is an issue that both our nations acknowledge.”