Pakistan eager for talks with India, wants US to mediate

Qureshi tried to convince US Secretary of State Pompeo Pakistan had taken measures of de-escalation like returning IAF pilot Varthaman

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Islamabad: Pakistan has appealed to the United States to play a role in resolving all pending issues with India after the Pulwama terror attack and India’s retaliatory airstrike on training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry informed that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had a talk with his US counterpart on Tuesday where they discussed several issues concerning the present situation in the region. Qureshi placed the demand before the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo through a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

The foreign minister would like Pompeo to believe that Pakistan has taken measures to de-escalate the bilateral strife with India. While it was bound by the Geneva convention on prisoners of war, Pakistan has cited the handing over of captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman as an example of its keenness to build bridges with India.

On the US-Pakistan relations, Qureshi said Pakistan accorded special significance to its equation with the US that could work towards ensuring peace and stability in the region. The US role in de-escalation in the region was laudable, he added.

The Afghan peace process was discussed during the conversation too, where the two politicians agreed to cooperate. “They discussed Pakistan’s facilitating role and agreed that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad’s forthcoming visit to Islamabad would provide an opportunity to further build on the gains made so far,” the statement said.

Qureshi told Pompeo the Kartarpur Corridor would be inaugurated this year on the birthday of first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak. “The opening of Kartarpur Corridor will not only help improving relations with India but also provide the Sikh community opportunity of spiritual tourism,” he said while addressing a conference in Islamabad.

Qureshi apprised Pompeo also of the steps being taken by the Pakistani side in addressing the concern, including handing over the captured Indian pilot back to India.

The Pakistan foreign ministry said, “We have also appealed to the United States to play their part in starting a dialogue between India and Pakistan so that all pending disputes can be resolved.”