Thursday, February 28, 2019

Ready for talks with India on all issues including terrorism: PM

Premier chaired federal cabinet meeting during which current security situation was discussed

Premier chaired federal cabinet meeting during which current security situation was discussed. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said Pakistan is ready for talks with India on all issues including terrorism, sources said.

Chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet, the premier said, "Dialogue is the only way for peace and stability in the region."

"I had made an offer to India to investigate the Pulwama attack and hold dialogue on bilateral issues," sources quoted the premier as telling cabinet members. "Pakistan is ready for talks with India on all issues including terrorism," he added according to the sources.

PM Imran took cabinet members into confidence regarding the plan of action as tensions with India escalate. A twelve-point agenda, including the current security situation, was discussed during the meeting ad the ministers of foreign affairs and defence briefed the cabinet members on Indian aggression, sources said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also briefed the cabinet members on his conversations and efforts with diplomats and the international community.

The cabinet members said the entire nation is united and ready for Pakistan's defence. The cabinet members lauded Pakistan's diplomatic efforts in the wake of Indian aggression, sources added.

The cabinet also granted approved the decision to raise the issue of Indian aggression at the United Nations, OIC and with friendly countries.

Speaking to Geo News earlier today, FM Qureshi said Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it means de-escalation of ties between the two countries.

The foreign minister further said, "Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to Narendra Modi on the telephone and ready to extend an invitation of peace. Is Modi ready?”

Asserting that Pakistan has been calling for peace since day one, Qureshi said, "If India wants to talk about terrorism then we are ready."

"You [India] want to risk regional stability for politics," he said and added that "it could be the need of politics but history will not forgive you".

Pakistan carried out air strikes and shot down two Indian military jets on Wednesday, a day after Indian warplanes "intruded" Pakistan airspace for the first time since a war in 1971, prompting leading powers to urge both of the nuclear-armed countries to show restraint.

Tension between the two countries has been elevated since the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in occupied Kashmir.

PM Imran on Wednesay called for talks with India and hoped both sides could de-escalate. “History tells us that wars are full of miscalculation. My question is that, given the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation,” PM Imran said during a brief televised broadcast to the nation. “We should sit down and talk.”