Pak pitches for constructive engagement with India

Stable Pakistan In India’s Interest: Envoy

REZAUL H LASKAR

Islamabad, Jan 29: Pakistan wants a “constructive engagement” with India to settle all outstanding problems, including the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said Tuesday.
“Pakistan was committed to constructive engagement with India for the settlement of all disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir,” Ashraf said during a meeting with President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan and Prime Minister Chaudhary Abdul Majeed of Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).
At the same time, he reiterated Pakistan’s “resolve to continue extending moral, diplomatic and political support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle of self-determination”, said a statement issued by the premier's office. Ashraf remarked that Pakistan believed in the “peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people”.
A peaceful resolution of the issue is essential for progress and prosperity in South Asia, he added. The leaders from PaK lauded the Pakistani leadership for their continued support for the struggle of the Kashmiri people.
During the meeting, the leaders also discussed several development projects initiated by the government PaK.
Ashraf said all necessary funds for the projects will be released in time to ensure their timely completion.

STABLE PAK IN INDIA’S INTEREST: ENVOY
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal today said that a peaceful, democratic and stable Pakistan is in the interest of India and the two countries should nurture their peace process as incidents like the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) disturb the friendly atmosphere in the region.
He made the remarks while interacting with reporters at a reception organised at a hotel here tonight to mark India’s Republic Day.
Sabharwal said India wants good relations with Pakistan and it has been New Delhi's policy that ties with Islamabad are based on mutual interest and benefit.
“It is necessary that the peace process should be carefully nurtured and efforts should be made that the peace process is not damaged,” he said.
Referring to the recent ceasefire violations along the LoC, the envoy said these incidents had enhanced tension and disturbed the friendly atmosphere between the two countries.
After the Directors General of Military Operations of both sides spoke on their hotline, the two countries agreed to resolve the issue through a bilateral mechanism that was already in place and the situation improved, Sabharwal said.
The firing across the LoC had stopped and this was a welcome sign, he added.
Referring to statements by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Sabharwal said the recent incidents had not derailed the bilateral peace process or caused irreversible damage.
He expressed the hope that the improvement in the atmosphere along the LoC would be durable and the ceasefire violations would not be repeated.
All information regarding the ceasefire violation had been shared between the two countries at appropriate levels, he said.
Trade was continuing between the two countries except at one point on the LoC and this point too had been reopened today, he added.
Sabharwal acknowledged that some incidents, like the return of some Pakistani hockey players from India and the cancellation of plays by Pakistani theatre groups, had created misunderstanding.
The Indian government had repeatedly clarified that it was not involved in such incidents and the organizers of events had made the decisions, he said.
Pakistani delegations were still visiting India and the Pakistani women's cricket team is currently in India.
A number of writers are attending a literature festival in Jaipur while a business delegation is participating in a leather fair, he said.
Sabharwal noted that 2013 is an important year for Pakistan as the country will go to the polls to chose a new government.
The upcoming polls are a milestone for the country's democratic process, he said.
Asked about the granting of Most Favored Nation-status to India, he said the decision would have to be made by Pakistan.
Under the World Trade Organization agreement, Pakistan is bound to liberalise trade with India, he said.
A large number of people attended the Republic Day reception hosted by the Indian envoy, including politicians, diplomats, members of the business community and journalists.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi, Federal Ministers Rehman Malik, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Farooq Sattar and Ghafoor Haideri, and PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain were among the members of parliament who attended the event.

ECONOMIC TIES ONLY WAY FORWARD: SHARMA
PTI adds from Agra: Against the backdrop of chill in India-Pakistan relations, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has pressed for the need for building confidence and trust particularly in the economic field, saying there is no alternative.
“India is of this considered view that there is no alternative way other than building an atmosphere of confidence and trust (to strengthen ties between India and Pakistan)...And for that the only way is the economic partnership,” Sharma said at the CII's Global Partnership Summit here last evening.
The session was on “South Asia Economic Integration: On a New path of progress and Hope”.
The statement comes amidst chill in bilateral relations triggered by the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.
After permitting FDI from Pakistan, he said India in the process of allowing its banks open branches in India.
Sharma asked the Pakistani delegations attending the session to tell their government to move forward.
“I know we have friends from Pakistan in the audience here. Please go back and remind them what we discussed in last February, where we are and not to allow anything which actually holds this region back,” he said.
Although Pakistan's Trade Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim could not make it to this summit due to some internal compulsions, a small delegation attended it.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 30 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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