Pakistan not begging for talks with India: Basit

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ISLAMABAD, June 22 (APP): Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India
Abdul Basit has said that Pakistan is not begging for talks with
India and long-lasting peace cannot be achieved in South Asia
without solving the Kashmir dispute in accordance with wishes of
its people.
Abdul Basit, in an exclusive interview with Rising Kashmir,
said that Jammu and Kashmir was the basic and core dispute with India.
One day Pakistan and India would have to come on the negotiation
table as without dialogue, the two countries could not resolve
their problems.
When asked how the deadlock in talks can be broken, he said,
“The present stalemate between the two countries would be over sooner
or later as without dialogue we cannot solve our problems.”
He said, “It is pleasing to note that we have a framework for
comprehensive bilateral dialogue. When Indian External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan in December 2015, both the
countries agreed and signed on this framework.”
Emphasizing that Islamabad does not believe in wasting time in
talks for the sake of talks, Basit said that Pakistan wanted talks
on substantive issues, specifically on Kashmir. “We consider
Kashmir issue as the basic and core dispute between Pakistan and India
and it should be resolved by taking into account the wishes of
Kashmiri people.”
He said without solving the Kashmir dispute, durable peace
between the two countries as well as in South Asia could not be
established.
Replying to a question, the Pakistani envoy said the two
countries had wasted 70 years in wars and bitterness and “the
time has now come that we should search for peace. We need to decide
whether we would like to continue with status quo or want to make a
new beginning in our ties.”
He said the situation in Kashmir was alarming. “It reinforces
the argument that there should be a dialogue and by using force one
cannot solve any problem.”
When told that India says Islamabad is not addressing the concerns
about “cross-border terrorism” for resumption of dialogue process,
Basit said, “There should be no condition for dialogue. Our position
is very clear that there can be no talk with pre-conditions. Talks
should be with open mind and it should be done in a sincere and cordial atmosphere.”
He said many rounds of talks were held between Pakistan and India
during 2004 to 2008 and those talks brought some good results. “It is
not fair to put condition for talks. Whenever talks were held, it
brought results,” he said.
When asked whether domestic compulsions are coming in Pakistan’s
way of improving relations with India, Basit said, “The foreign policy
is basically extension of domestic policies and you cannot separate it. However, I must say, there is a national consensus in Pakistan for
improving ties with India. I can say that Pakistani nation has come
of age or became mature enough as nobody wants to bedevil relations with India.”
“We do not want to live in perpetual hostility with India but
that does not mean we are begging for talks,” he said, adding,
“Pakistan is positive and constructive, but it takes two to tango.”