Willing to consider returning IAF pilot if it leads to ‘de-escalation’: Pakistan FM

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Srinagar

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it means de-escalation of ties between the two countries, reported Geo News.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Geo News quoted the Pakistan foreign minister as having said, “I have just received the Indian dossier and have not gotten the chance to examine it. We briefed parliamentary leaders last night, there was a meeting of the cabinet. There is a joint session. I will still say that we will see and examine the dossier with an open heart. I wish they India would have sent this dossier earlier. They attacked first and then sent the dossier. If they would have sent the dossier first and sought Pakistan’s answer there would be no need for an attack.”

“If there is de-escalation with the return of this [Indian] pilot, Pakistan is willing to consider this. We are ready for all positive engagement,” Geo News quoted Qureshi as having said.

According to Geo News report said the Pakistan 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”.

“Our wish is peace and stability is our top priority,” he maintained according to Geo News.

According to the report, Qureshi questioned, “God forbid there is a war, Pakistan will be affected but will India’s economy not suffer?”

Geo News quoted the Pakistan foreign minister as having said, “I have received a message that the Saudi foreign minister is departing for Pakistan.”

“Had Indian foreign minister held talks with me in New York, I would have told her this is a Naya Pakistan,” the report quoted Qureshi as having said.

Regarding Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj attending the meeting of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) next month, Qureshi said, “India is neither a member of OIC nor an observer.”

“The host country had invited the Indian foreign minister as a guest speaker for one inaugural session. I have spoken to the UAE minister and apprised him of Pakistan’s reservations and told him that he should have spoken to us before inviting Swaraj,” said Qureshi.

In response to a question regarding the closure of Pakistan’s airspace, the foreign minister said, “The airspace has been closed for national and passenger security. It was SOP. We want the airspace to open at the earliest.”

“I will not hesitate to meet but OIC is not the forum for talks with Swaraj,” Qureshi asserted.

The foreign minister, while speaking to a Pakistan private news channel this morning, once again invited India for talks and said dialogue is the only civilised way forward. “If India showed aggression, we showed defence,” Qureshi asserted.

Stating that “we are not stuck in the past,” Qureshi said, “We want peace in the region. There is no growth from war, only a decline in happiness.”

The foreign minister continued, “India cannot solve the Kashmir issue through strength. We are ready to talk on the issues of Kashmir and terrorism with India. They can come and sit down and we will have a dialogue.”

Upholding that war is not the solution, FM Qureshi added, “After the destruction, you also have to sit down for talks. Civilised dialogue is the only way forward.”

“India’s policy is not beneficial anymore. We are losing Kashmiris,” he stressed.

The Pakistan foreign minister also welcomed US President Donald Trump’s statement on Pakistan and India tensions.

Addressing a news conference in Hanoi after a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, the US president opened his remarks by discussing the situation with India and Pakistan. “We have reasonably attractive news from Pakistan and India,” he said.

“They have been going at it and we have been involved in trying to have them stop and we have some reasonably decent news hopefully that will be coming to an end. It’s been going on for a long time for decades and decades. There is a lot of dislikes unfortunately so we have been in the middle trying to help them both out, see if we can get some organisation and some peace. And I think that is probably going to be happening,” the US president said.

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