Diplomacy, dialogue indispensable for addressing mutual concerns; resolving Kashmir issue

Diplomacy, dialogue indispensable for addressing mutual concerns; resolving Kashmir issue

ISLAMABAD: Sohail Mahmood, High Commissioner of Pakistan to India Friday said diplomacy and dialogue were indispensable for enhancing mutual understanding, addressing mutual concerns, and resolving long-standing disputes including Jammu & Kashmir.

Speaking at the National Day Reception at the Pakistan High Commission New Delhi, the ambassador said relationship based on sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutual interest was the best guarantee for a peaceful and prosperous future.

“We do hope the long winter in India-Pakistan relations would come to an early end.”

He said as the two countries “limp back from the brink, we must make sure that we act with wisdom to find a way forward — for our countries, and for our peoples.”

“Coercive measures have not worked in the past; they will not work in the future,” Ambassador Sohail said.

The ambassador said people of goodwill must continue to work for a new spring in the relationship — one that enables our teeming youth to fulfill their aspirations, and our two countries to achieve their optimal potential.

He said there was, however, still the need to reassure concerned citizens in both countries, to consolidate the process of de-escalation, and to stabilize the ties against further shocks.

He pointed that one key take-away from recent developments was the lack of engagement which creates dangerous vacuum and has serious risks for the relationship.

“South Asia, our common home, must march forward with stable peace, equal security and shared prosperity,” the ambassador said and added “We must remember that, ultimately, hope always triumphs over fear.”

Ambassador Sohail said the “Pakistan Day” reception comes in close conjunction with Holi and Nurouz and extended warm felicitations to everyone celebrating these joyous festivals. He attributed the recent positivity as generated by the vibrant colours of Holi festival.

He said Seventy-nine years ago, on 23rd March 1940, the All-India Muslim League adopted the historic Resolution at its annual session in Lahore, which became the basis for the Pakistan movement.

He said under the visionary and inspiring leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the idea of Pakistan was translated into reality within a span of 7 years.

Sohail said the Quaid’s vision of Pakistan has always remained a guiding light for the nation. He envisioned an economically-strong, modern, democratic, Islamic welfare state.

“Over the years, we have made important strides in strengthening pluralism, deepening democracy, expanding the economy, promoting a free media, and nurturing a dynamic civil society.

He said Pakistan in its fight against the scourge of terrorism, has turned a corner and pointed that there was a real transformation underway in Pakistan.

He said the founding fathers of Pakistan and India had envisaged amicable relations between the two countries.

However, the relationship has remained challenged, for most part of our history as free nations.

Referring to the recent tension, he said, the two countries passed through a very difficult time recently.

He pointed that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to release Wing Commander Abhinandan, return of the two High Commissioners to their respective Missions, and bilateral meetings to develop modalities for operationalization of the Kartarpur Corridor were steps in a positive direction.

This Pakistan Day, the High Commission organized a photographic Exhibition under the theme of “Colours of Pakistan” — based on iconic images captured by top Pakistani photographer Gulraiz Ghouri.