Bishkek: Pakistan will hold talks with India on the “basis of equality” and in a “dignified manner”, and it is up to New Delhi whether to engage with Islamabad to resolve all outstanding issues, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.
Qureshi, who was in the Kyrgyz capital to attend the 19th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, said this while confirming exchange of pleasantries between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi here on Friday on the sidelines of the multilateral meeting.
“Yes, the meeting did take place, there was a handshake and exchange of pleasantries,” Qureshi told Geo News. “Pakistan has said what it had to,” Qureshi said.
“So India has to make this decision, we are neither in haste, nor troubled. When India prepares itself, it would find us prepared, but we will hold talks on the basis of equality, in a dignified manner.
“Neither we need to run after anyone, nor we need to demonstrate stubbornness. Pakistan’s approach is very realistic and well thought-out,” Qureshi said when asked to comment on demand by some people that Pakistan should not repeatedly invite India for talks.
He said India had to make a decision whether to hold bilateral talks with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, and that Pakistan sought the dialogue to be based on equality.
The exchange of pleasantries between Imran and Modi came over two weeks after Imran and Qureshi wrote separate letters to their Indian counterparts, pushing for restarting bilateral talks.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by a Pakistan-based terror group, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.
Imran had also made a telephone call to Modi on May 26 and expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of the people of the two countries. On his part, Modi said creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.