All issues to be discussed with Indian foreign secretary: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Thursday it would discuss all disputes with Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar when he visits Pakistan between March 3rd and 4th.

“Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek and other issues would be discussed with the Indian foreign secretary,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam at the the weekly media briefing.

“We welcome this Indian initiative,” she added.

Pakistan and India, who have fought two of their three wars over disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir, have traded blame for an upsurge in firing and shelling which started in October last year.

US Secretary of State John Kerry last month appealed to both nations to resume the talks, saying Washington was “deeply concerned” about a surge in violence on the border in Kashmir.

Take a look: India calls off foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan

Exchanges of fire across their de facto border and undisputed border further south have killed more than two dozen civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes on both sides.

Given the tension between the two nations at the LoC in Kashmir, and the cancellation of a similar previously scheduled meeting, the upcoming talks will be significant in defining the relations between the two neighbours.

Peace important pillar of foreign policy

 

Aslam also said establishment of peace is an important pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

She highlighted the key role Pakistan has played in UN peace missions, citing participation in 42 peacekeeping missions.

Afghan govt, Taliban dialogue welcomed

 

Responding to a question, the FO spokesperson welcomed resumption of initial talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban.

Last week, the Afghan Taliban’s office in Doha was revived with Taliban holding initial talks with the Afghan government, while Pakistan acted as a facilitator.

Explore: Afghan Taliban’s Doha office revived: Pakistan officials

Indian High Commissioner summoned to Islamabad

 

Pakistan summoned its High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit for urgent consultations over the upcoming visit of S. Jaishankar to Pakistan.

Credible sources told Dawn that Basit has reached Islamabad and is briefing top officials of the Foreign Office engaged in planning parleys with the Indian foreign secretary.

Basit is also expected to meet Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He is expected to brief them over the latest issues between the two countries.

Sources said the Indian government has desired a meeting of its foreign secretary with PM Nawaz, and is awaiting a response from Islamabad in this regard.

Sources added that the Indian foreign secretary would deliver an important message of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his Pakistani counterpart.

A significant number of Indian journalists are also expected to arrive in Islamabad for coverage of the talks.

Courtesy  by       Dawn.com

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