ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday said it would restart work on improving trade ties with arch-rival India when the two nations’ foreign secretaries meet in Islamabad next month.
Pakistan is determined to work together with India “to find the solution of all the issue as the dialogue process is the only way to resolve these issues”, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told a weekly press briefing in a rare appearance.
About the possibility of granting Most Favourite Status (MFN) status to India, he said discussions are going on in the Ministry of Commerce so that there should be even chances to the traders from both the sides to promote bilateral trade. “When the dialogue process resumes, then we hope to build on the work already done in this regard.”
The foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India are set to meet in Islamabad on August 25 in the neighbouring countries’ latest attempt at improving ties. Commenting on his Wednesday’s telephonic conversation with Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, Aizaz said both the countries are going to resume the dialogue process to discuss and resolve all the issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
Aizaz said keeping in view the vision of the two prime ministers, who met on May 27 this year in New Delhi, the countries have agreed to improve and establish good neighbourly relations. He said during the conversation, it was agreed that the two foreign secretaries would meet in Islamabad on August 25 to carry forward the dialogue process. It was also agreed that the dialogue process between the two countries should be result-oriented.
About the recent remarks made by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad, Aizaz said there was no justification in the allegation of infiltration from Pakistan’s side at working boundary in Sialkot. He said according to confirmed reports, there has been no incident of infiltration from Pakistan side. He said the mechanism of direct contacts between Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) of Pakistan and India is working very effectively and in their every Tuesday meeting, all the disputes across the Line of Control are being discussed amicably.
Commenting on the statement of Indian High Commissioner about the importance of United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), the foreign secretary said Pakistan still considered this arrangement of UN very relevant. He said this group conveys any violation across LoC to its headquarters and keeps a watch on day-to-day activities.
Strongly condemning the continued Israeli aggression against innocent Palestinians in Gaza, the top Pakistan diplomat sought immediate ceasefire and demanded peaceful resolution of the Palestine issue. “We are deeply appalled at this carnage in Gaza and urge the UN Security Council to act by adopting a resolution that would call for an immediate and an unconditional ceasefire, halt Israeli air, ground and naval offensive, and remove Israeli forces from Gaza.”
He said Pakistan had always backed the Palestinian cause and raised voice in the UNSC against Israeli attacks violating human rights, adding that Pakistan has also been actively engaged through the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and moved a resolution in Geneva to raise voice for the Palestinian people. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also gave a strong statement condemning the Israeli attack and expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of lives in Gaza.
To a question about his recent visit to Kabul along with Prime Minister’s Special Representative Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Aizaz said they went to Afghanistan after Islamabad received reports that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was planning attacks on border posts from the Afghan soil. He said there were reports that a big incident could happen in Afghanistan “and we wanted to inform the Afghanistan government about the threat.”
The foreign secretary said Pakistan has officially requested Afghanistan not to allow its territory to be used against Pakistan. He said Pakistan expected that Afghanistan should take action to stop the movement of terrorists to Pakistan and eliminate the sanctuaries of terrorists on the Afghan soil. “As Pakistan is determined not to allow its territory to be used against them, we expect similar commitment from Afghanistan.”