ISLAMBAD: Despite the Indian home minister’s recent allegations that Pakistan was behind an attack in Srinagar, Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar insisted that Pakistan-India peace process is essential for normalcy in the region.
The Foreign Affairs Minister stated this in a written reply concerning overall progress on the Kashmir issue.
Khar dismissed allegations regarding the recent incidents that occurred near Line of Control (LoC). “We've no such record that our security forces opened fires on two Indian soldiers killed earlier this year,” she said.
"The incidents can not derail our commitment with India to promote peace in the region," Khar stated despite the hostile statements issued by the Indian leadership and aggression by the Indian security forces.
The foreign minister explained that the government is ready to work with United Nations Military Observer Group (UNMOG) to carry out an independent inquiry into the alleged ceasefire violation.
Linking the violation to terrorism Khar said, "Terrorism is not only our issue...it's India’s too."
On Thursday, Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde pointed at Pakistan for involvement in Wednesday’s attack in Srinagar that resulted in the death two terrorists and five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.
Foreign policy recap
The foreign minister at a news conference gave an overview of the challenged faced by the ministry and how they were overcome in the past five years.
Khar said that the foreign policy was driven by confidence rather than fear. She added the priority of the foreign policy has been to provide peaceful and stable regional environment so that people focus on internal growth and stability rather than border disputes.
In the regional context, she particularly referred to the historic Gwadar Port agreement and the Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure projects.
"China has been our strategic ally and the present government focused on transferring politically strong relations into economically strong ties.”
Khar acknowledged that the ministry was disappointed with the Pakistan-India relations and termed the hostile statements from India on cross LoC incidents unfortunate.
"Pakistan wants resolution of Kashmir dispute but there was not required level of trust at the moment for resolution of the issue through dialogue."
Ties with Afghanistan
Speaking about Afghanistan, she said that they want Pakistan to cooperate in the talks with Taliban, Ulema conference and release of Taliban prisoners.
“We aspire for no role in Afghanistan than to facilitate Afghan people on the course chosen by them for peace and reconciliation,” Khar said.
Khar then moved onto the ties between the US and Pakistan. She said that the engagement was guided by the Parliament and is based on mutual respect.
"Our engagement is guided by the Parliament and is based on mutual respect".
She further said that both the countries ‘recognise each other's importance and have complete alignment of interests in Afghanistan.’
The Minister also referred to initiation of strategic dialogue with GCC countries and focus on improving economic ties with the Russian Federation.
She hoped that the European Union would grant GSP Plus status to Pakistan in the beginning of next year, which will give a boost the exports of Pakistan.
Replying to a question, regarding the involvement of the defence ministry in foreign affairs, she said that although military has no constitutional role, it is consulted for its input on issues relating to security and defence.