Ready for dialogue on Kashmir, terrorism; will return Abhinandan if it de-escalates tensions: Pakistan

Srinagar: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it means de-escalation of ties between the two countries.

Speaking to Geo News, the foreign minister said, “India handed over a dossier to the acting High Commissioner of Pakistan a day earlier and we will examine it. I will evaluate the dossier with an open heart and then see if talks will be held on that.”

“We are willing to return the captured Indian pilot if it leads to de-escalation,” he added.

The foreign minister further said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to hold a telephonic conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Regarding Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj attending the meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) next month, Qureshi said, “India is neither a member of OIC nor an observer.”

“The host country had invited the Indian foreign minister as a guest speaker for one inaugural session. I have spoken to the UAE minister and apprised him of Pakistan’s reservations and told him that he should have spoken to us before inviting Swaraj.”

In response to a question regarding closure of Pakistan’s airspace, the foreign minister said, “The airspace has been closed for national and passenger security. It was SOP. We want the airspace to open at the earliest.”

“I will not hesitate to meet but OIC is not the forum for talks with Swaraj,” Qureshi asserted.

The foreign minister, while speaking to a private news channel this morning, once again invited India for talks and said dialogue is the only civilised way forward. “If India showed aggression, we showed defence,” Qureshi asserted.

Stating that “we are not stuck in the past,” Qureshi said, “We want peace in the region. There is no growth from war, only a decline in happiness.”

The foreign minister continued, “India cannot solve the Kashmir issue through strength. We are ready to talk on the issues of Kashmir and terrorism with India. They can come and sit down and we will have a dialogue.”

Upholding that war is not the solution, FM Qureshi added, “After destruction, you also have to sit down for talks. Civilised dialogue is the only way forward.”

“India’s policy is not beneficial anymore. We are losing Kahsmiris,” he stressed.

The foreign minister also thanked US President Donald Trump for his statement on the Pakistan-India tension.

Addressing a news conference in Hanoi after a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, the US president opened his remarks by discussing the situation with India and Pakistan. “We have reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” he said.

“They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop and we have some reasonably decent news hopefully that will be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time for decades and decades. There is a lot of dislike unfortunately so we have been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organisation and some peace. And I think that is probably going to be happening,” the US president said.

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