Peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.
New Delhi: Pakistan wants a “peaceful neighbourhood” and “peaceful co-existence” in South Asia, its high commissioner Sohail Mahmood said on Friday, adding that this can only be achieved through “diplomacy and dialogue”. Speaking on the occasion of his country’s national day, Mr Mahmood said it was important to resolve the J&K issue “peacefully through dialogue”. Mr Mahmood’s speech was rather conciliatory and sober in content and contained none of the aggression that one saw in the speeches of his predecessor Abdul Basit. But it could be too early too say whether Islamabad is indeed offering the olive branch to New Delhi, particularly since the diplomat harassment row between the two countries is on in full swing and ties remain rock-bottom.
Also, the Pakistan Army continues to maintain a vice-like grip on the country’s strategic affairs and policy, particularly on fostering hostility with India. Mr Mahmood returned to New Delhi to host the celebrations, about a week after being recalled to Islamabad for consultations in the wake of the diplomatic row.
Mr Mahmood’s speech addressed the issue of terrorism, but only that which was aimed at Pakistan. The speech was silent on India’s core concerns of terrorism against New Delhi emanating from Pakistani or Pakistan-occupied territory.
In a statement, the Pakistan high commission said, “In the regional context, high commissioner Sohail Mahmood underlined the importance of Pakistan’s vision of ‘peaceful neighbourhood’. He added that Pakistan desired peaceful and good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and respect. It was important to resolve all the outstanding issues including the J&K dispute peacefully through dialogue. Peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue. Peace, security, stability and prosperity in south Asia could only be promoted on the principle of peaceful co-existence.”