Pakistan hopeful of positive response from India to talks offer

We have always pursued diplomacy with New Delhi, says Ambassador Masood Khan.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan hopes that India would respond positively to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s overture for talks aimed at resolving the outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. 

Ambassador Masood Khan also urged the United States to pay more attention to the tense region.

“We have always pursued diplomacy with India,” the Pakistani envoy was quoted as saying in a Newsweek article covering the latest regional developments.

“The Prime Minister of Pakistan has once again made an offer for engagement; the US has also expressed its support for direct dialogue between Pakistan and India on issues of concern,” he told the mass-circulation magazine.

“We hope there would be a reciprocal resonance from New Delhi,” Masood Khan added.

Ambassador Masood Khan, who spoke to Newsweek’s correspondent Tom O’Conner on “Youm-e-Istehsal “, cautioned that India’s illegal annexation of occupied Kashmir on August 5, 2019, and its subsequent actions like changing the demography of the disputed region posed a grave risk to the region’s security.

“The situation has been deteriorating, It was not just annexation,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“There was this new domicile law which opened the floodgates for inflow of outsiders into the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and they are allowing their armed forces to acquire land inside Jammu and Kashmir.

“So they’re changing the demographic composition but in addition to that, they are also doing this electoral reengineering of the constituencies to reduce Muslim majority into a minority.”

Discussing the regional situation, Ambassador Masood Khan said that the economic future of the neighborhood depended on stabilization in Afghanistan.

“We have a shared objective, to eliminate terrorism and work for infrastructure development so that we leverage our economic geography this economic geography can be used for more connectivity, for economic partnerships and I think that terrorism in all forms is a barrier in achieving that objective,” he said.

Noting close U.S. engagements with partners along the Arabian Peninsula, Ambassador Khan argued that “this entire neighborhood should be looked at as a whole, as one big ecosystem.”

“So, I think that in that context, the United States should be more closely involved,” he said. “Right now, our priority is to attract U.S. investment, particularly in tech startups, which have taken off in Pakistan, but, simultaneously, United States attention to the region to improve the security situation would also be welcomed by us.”

On Pak-US relations, Masood Khan noted that the US diplomatic engagement in the region was always positive.

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