Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that despite India’s reluctance, Pakistan would not close doors on its efforts to promote peace in the region. Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Qureshi while defining his government’s policy towards the neighbouring country said, “India is reluctant, but we will not close our doors”. He observed that hiding away from issues will not make them disappear. It will not improve the situation in Kashmir. The minister noted that India used incidents that happened in July to cancel peace talks that it agreed to in September. The foreign minister said he was unable to understand India’s refusal to participate in peace talks with Pakistan. He pointed out that India’s response to Pakistan’s peace offer was harsh and non-diplomatic. “We did not use a non-diplomatic language in our rejoinder. Our response was matured and measured. They adopted a new approach, and moved back”, he said adding that Sushma Swaraj’s language and tone was unbecoming of a foreign minister. Asked if tensions between India and Pakistan could lead to a war between the two countries, the minister said: “Who is talking of war? Not us. We want peace, stability, employment and improving lives. You identify where is the reluctance.” Qureshi said that Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for a sign of weakness. “We want peace. It does not mean, we cannot defend ourselves against aggression. We can but we do not have an aggressive mindset”, he said.
During the press conference the foreign minister has expressed his government’s earnest desire to promote regional peace and develop good relationship with neighbours with a view to seek settlement of disputes and potential conflicts through peaceful means. Pakistan as a matter of fact has been looking for a constructive and meaningful engagement with India as it believes that a sustainable dialogue was the only way for both the countries to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Kashmir that remains at the heart of Indo-Pak conflict. It was in lieu of this spirit that the newly elected government had approached India and offered an olive branch, seeking resumption of stalled bilateral talks. Initially, the government of India agreed to a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month. However, all of a sudden New Delhi called off the meeting, citing the killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir and the release of the postal stamps Burhan Wani. The cancellation of meeting and that too on flimsy grounds demonstrated nothing but Indian government’s ill-will against Pakistan that unfortunately lies deep down to its psyche. Though it was a good opportunity for both the states, which could have been availed keeping in view the larger interests of teemed millions living on both sides of the international border but the BJP and its leadership seems to be stuck in the belligerent mindset. Saying no to peace, indeed, exposed Indian duplicity towards Pakistan but this reckless hostility on the part of Modi government poses a great threat to regional stability. The foreign ministers meeting in New York, as it was anticipated, would have set the ball rolling for the resumption of talks between the two countries but New Delhi yet again threw cold water on the efforts and thwarted the move, which otherwise, would have been instrumental in putting an end to years-long diplomatic stalemate. Nonetheless, the India’s arrogant response to PM’s dialogue offer has been disappointing but the incumbent government’s stance regarding the resumption of composite dialogue process, seeking settlement of disputes and its commitment for regional peace goes in line with the fundamental principles of our foreign policy. All that the government needs to do is to expose India’s belligerence, bellicosity and its double standards at the international community.