WASHINGTON: Pakistan desires to pursue an uninterrupted peace process with India that addresses causes of outstanding disputes and “not just symptoms” for achievement of durable peace in South Asia, Islamabad’s ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani said Tuesday.
He described such a scenario where the two South Asian neighbours pursue an approach to resolve disputes and work on areas of convergences as the “most desirable”.
Ambassador Jilani was speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace on a discourse on Pakistan-India relations, moderated by George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies at the think tank.
The ambassador’s remarks referred to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and other issues including Siachen, Sir Creek and water disputes that were part of the composite dialogue between the two countries. He underscored that need for addressing these issues peacefully through a political approach.
He said the foreign secretaries of both countries would meet shortly to resume stalled peace process between the two nuclear powers and expressed confidence that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposal of the Pakistani and Indian national security advisors establishing a mechanism for constant contact would be taken up positively.
The top Pakistani diplomat in Washington said an uninterrupted process should allow both countries to encourage peace constituencies on both sides.
He emphasized that ‘settlement of disputes in accordance with international legality will establish permanent peace’ in the region.
Referring to the respective agendas of Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on economic revival and peace, the ambassador said the understanding reached between the two leaders during their recent contacts to revive peace process generates hope.
“That would be a first step towards creating a cooperative and tension-free relationship between the two countries,” he said of the revival of the peace process.
In response to questions, Ambassador Jilani said both sides should work address each other’s concerns including the issue of militancy and Pakistan’s concerns regarding Indian involvement in stoking unrest in Balochistan.
On the positive side, he said, the trade between the two countries has increased and may touch $ 5 billion mark by 2015. On Islamabad granting Indian most favored nation status, he said, the two sides will work on this matter as the dialogue process resumes.
The ambassador also noted a marked improvement in Pakistan-U.S. relations. The event was attended by think tank experts and South Asian scholars. In response to a question by Dr. Nisar Chaudhry, President Pakistan American League, Ambassador Jilani said Prime Minister Sharif genuinely wants to foster peace with both neighbors India and Afghanistan and the neighbours.
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