Abdul Basit (L) welcomes Mirwaiz Umer Farooq at the Eid Milan party in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said on Tuesday that Islamabad was committed to improving ties with New Delhi amid renewed tensions between the two hyphenated but hostile neighbours.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Eid Milan programme at Pakistan’s High Commission in the Indian capital, Basit said, “We all want all issues of importance between Pakistan and India to be discussed. We hope very soon our leaders will meet and resolve all issues of importance between our two nations.”
“I hope very soon we move from confrontation to cooperation. I want to assure you that our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is committed to peace between our two nations,” he added.
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Commenting on the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi in the Russian city of Ufa, he said, “Pakistan is committed to building on positivity which was reflected in Ufa. We hope that we can make a good beginning.”
Imam Bukhari and Tariq Bukhari, Aam Aadmi Party’s Iliyas Azmi and Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were among those who attended the Eid Milan.
Basit comments come against the backdrop of India’s violation of a delicate ceasefire on the border between the two nuclear-armed countries.
The two countries have traded blame for a series of firefights and shelling over the past two days along their contentious border. The perennially tense ties suffered a major blow last week when an Indian reconnaissance drone was shot down for intruding Pakistani airspace along the Line of Control (LoC).
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Breaking months of deadlock, India and Pakistan decided to revive the dialogue process following talks between Nawaz and Modi in Russia. In their first bilateral talks in over a year, the two leaders met in Ufa’s Congress Hall on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit and decided that National Security Advisers Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz would meet in New Delhi either next month or in September to discuss “all issues connected to terrorism”.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.