Dialogue with India

PM in-waiting Imran Khan, on Friday, called for resumption of stalled dialogue process between Pakistan and India to discuss all outstanding issues including the Kashmir dispute. He reiterated Pakistan’s desire to have peace with India during a meeting with Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad which was also attended by PTI’s other leaders having knack in foreign affair.
As far as statements and messages are concerned, these are encouraging from the Indian side as well as was reflective in telephonic conversation between Imran Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the good wishes conveyed by the Indian envoy on Friday. Bisaria conveyed to him that there was a new optimism about relations between the two countries following telephonic conversation between the leadership of the two countries that the ties would move forward positively. These gestures are welcome and one hopes the sentiments expressed from both sides would be translated into reality through confidence building measures followed by formal resumption of dialogue as suggested by Imran Khan. One must not pre-judge intents but the experience of the past is not much encouraging as far as response from New Delhi is concerned. It is worth collecting that like IK, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too extended an olive branch to India both before his oath-taking and afterwards. He repeatedly expressed his desire to have peaceful relations with all neighbours especially India saying that sustainable peace was a must for the economic agenda pursued by Pakistan for welfare of its people. However, throughout his tenure India did not cooperate with the same spirit as far as resumption of dialogue is concerned and instead scuttled all attempts by Pakistan to host SAARC summit in Islamabad, which would have provided a platform and occasion for the leadership to sort out at least some of the irritants. Similarly, India wriggled out of its pledges for resumption of composite dialogue on pretext of terrorist attacks, a tendency which is markedly different from the approach adopted by Pakistan which never allowed such incidents to spoil prospects for dialogue with India despite documentary and circumstantial evidence of New Delhi’s involvement in acts of terrorism and sabotage in different parts of country. One hopes for a positive change in behaviour as there is no guarantee of sustainable security and peace in the region sans dialogue and resolution of long-standing disputes.

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