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Kashmir situation will not improve by hiding away from issues: Pakistan

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Washington, Sep 24: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that despite India’s reluctance, Islamabad would not close doors on its efforts to promote peace in the region.

“India is reluctant, we will not close our doors,” the Minister said while addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Embassy here on Sunday.

“Hiding away from issues will not make them disappear. It will not improve the situation in Kashmir,” Dawn online quoted Qureshi as saying.

After India cited the release of postal stamps by Pakistan “glorifying” slain Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani as one of the two reasons for cancelling of ministerial-level talks, Qureshi said, “hundreds of thousands of people are fighting in Kashmir, not all of them are terrorists.”

The Minister said he was unable to understand India’s refusal to participate in peace talks with Pakistan.

“Engagement, no-engagement. Coming, not coming. We desired talks as we believe the sensible way is to meet and talk. They agreed, and then disagreed.”

He also pointed out that India’s response to Pakistan’s peace offer was harsh and non-diplomatic.

“We did not use a non-diplomatic language in our rejoinder. Our response was matured and measured. They adopted a new approach, and moved back.”

Qureshi said that Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s “language and tone was unbecoming of a foreign minister”, Dawn online reported.

Asked if tensions between India and Pakistan could lead to a war between the two countries, the Qureshi said: “Who is talking of war? Not us. We want peace, stability, employment and improving lives. You identify where is the reluctance.”

Qureshi said that Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for a sign of weakness.

“We want peace. It does not mean we cannot defend ourselves against aggression. We can but we do not have an aggressive mindset,” he said.

 Read also: India’s calling off meeting “unfortunate”: Pak FM Qureshi

The Minister also reiterated Pakistan’s offer to open the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara corridor for allowing devotees to visit the historic Gurdwara on the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev.

Qureshi’s statement comes after India on Friday cancelled his and Sushma Swaraj’s meeting that was scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session this week.

New Delhi blamed Pakistan for the killing of security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and accusing it of “glorifying terrorism”, in terms of releasing a postage stamp featuring Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani who was killed by Indian government forces last year.

India announced its decision just 24 hours after Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in his media briefing on Thursday that New Delhi has accepted Islamabad’s request for a meeting between the two foreign ministers.

Pakistan to raise Kashmir issue …

UNITED NATIONS: When some 146 world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, they are expected to discuss issues of international peace and security as several conflicts from Syria to Yemen rage on, defying any resolution.

The Pakistani delegation will be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who in his speech in the General Assembly on Sept 29 will set out the new government’s priorities and its position and policy on key international and regional issues including the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the light of UN Human Rights Council’s report, Pakistani officials said.

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