Foreign Minister meets with former Foreign Ministers/ Foreign Secretaries/Ambassadors of Pakistan
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met a group of former Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and Ambassadors at the Foreign Office today to consult them on the resumption of the peace process between Pakistan and India as was agreed between Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at their Thimphu meeting.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Abdul Sattar, Mr. Inam ul Haq, Mr. Akram Zaki, Dr. Humayun Khan, Dr. Tanvir A. Khan, Mr. Shehryar M. Khan, Mr. Najmuddin Shaikh, Mr. Riaz H. Khokhar, Mr. Aziz Ahmad Khan, Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Mr. Asif Ezdi Shah and Mr. Tariq Osman Hyder. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir also attended the meeting.
Briefing the group about the Thimphu meeting (29 Aril 2010) on the margins of the 16th SAARC Summit, the Foreign Minister said that while the two countries had agreed to come back to the negotiating table to discuss all the issues, in order for the peace process to achieve concrete results it was important that the dialogue between the two countries continued uninterruptedly. He said the Thimphu meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. The two leaders had agreed to take cognizant of each other’s concerns and resume the peace process in the spirit of resolving all the issues on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. It was also agreed to take necessary measures towards promoting mutual confidence and mutual trust.
The Foreign Minister underlined that terrorism was a regional issue and had to be dealt with through cooperation. He said he was looking forward to having a telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart tomorrow. Pakistan wanted that the momentum generated at Thimphu be sustained. He expressed the hope that a meeting between the two Foreign Ministers would take place sooner rather than later so that the peace process could be resumed without further delay.
There was also an in-depth discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and a way forward. The Foreign Minister said that the democratic Government of Pakistan had taken a principled position on this core issue. He strongly believed that no viable solution of the dispute could be found and implemented unless it was in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He said it was encouraging that the Kashmiri leadership across the board had welcomed the resumption of dialogue.
The Foreign Minister welcomed suggestions made by the participants and appreciated their candid and valuable observations. Most of the participants were of the view that resumption of the dialogue process was a significant development after an extended suspension of talks following the Mumbai terror attacks. It was, therefore, important that the leadership on both sides of the border demonstrated vision and perseverance and tried their utmost to nudge the peace process towards concrete results. They also complimented the Foreign Minister for his pro-active and focused diplomacy, which they said, was necessary to secure Pakistan’s security and development interests in this complex and fast changing world.
The Foreign Minister said that the Foreign Office was Pakistan’s first line of defence. It would always be there to protect and promote Pakistan’s interests around the globe. He added that as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, it had always been his effort to consult all stakeholders and proceed with consensus on issues of national importance.
10 May 2010