Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has written to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi seeking a resumption of dialogue between the two countries. “Pakistan remains ready to discuss terrorism,” Khan wrote in a letter dated September 14. “Discussions on trade, people to people contacts, religious tourism, humanitarian issues are also important.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal confirmed on Twitter that Khan has written to Modi “in a positive spirit, reciprocating his sentiments”. He said Islamabad was waiting for a formal response from India, adding: “Let us talk and resolve all issues.”
Khan has proposed a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries – Pakistan’s Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and India’s Sushma Swaraj – before the informal meeting of the SAARC Foreign Ministers at the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
“They can explore the way forward, especially the holding of the SAARC Council of Ministers, followed by the SAARC Summit in Islamabad,” said the Pakistan prime minister. “The summit will offer an opportunity for you to visit Pakistan and for us to restart the stalled dialogue process.” The only way forward for the two countries lies in “constructive engagement”, he added.
“Pakistan and India have an undeniably challenging relationship,” he wrote. “We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, to bridge differences and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.” He added that the disputes around the Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek also require close attention.
In his first address after taking charge of the country, Khan had said his government would work to establish good relations with all the country’s neighbours and hold talks to normalise ties.
Days later, he said Islamabad and New Delhi must hold dialogue to resolve all conflicts, including Kashmir. “The best way to alleviate poverty and uplift the people of the subcontinent is to resolve our differences through dialogue and start trading,” he tweeted.
‘Positive gesture,’ says PDP
The People’s Democratic Party welcomed the letter and called it a “positive gesture”. “We hope PM Narendra Modi will reciprocate your sentiments,” former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s party wrote on Twitter. “Dialogue is the only way out of this stalemate.”