Imran Khan Accepts Modi’s Pakistan Day Greetings

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s greetings on the eve of the country’s National Day, saying time has come to begin a “comprehensive dialogue” between the two countries to address and resolve all issues, including the “central issue” of Kashmir.

According to official sources in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi sent a letter to Khan, greeting people of Pakistan on the eve of its National Day and highlighting the importance of a terror-free South Asia.

Modi, in his message, said it was time for the people of the sub-continent to work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive and prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence, they said.

Khan, in a tweet, welcomed Modi’s message and said the time has come to begin a comprehensive dialogue between the two countries to address and resolve all issues, including Kashmir.

“I welcome PM Modi’s message to our people. As we celebrate Pakistan Day I believe it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address & resolve all issues, esp the central issue of Kashmir, & forge a new relationship based on peace & prosperity for all our people,” Khan tweeted on Friday.

India has made it clear to Pakistan that cross-border terror attacks and talks cannot go hand in hand.

India last year called off a planned meeting of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York after blaming Pakistan-based entities for killing of three special police officers in Kashmir.

Earlier, Khan also tweeted Modi’s message.

“Received msg from PM Modi: ‘I extend my greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that ppl of Sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence’,” Khan said.

Modi’s message to Khan came in the midst of severe strain in ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the Pulwama attack and the subsequent air strikes by India on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.

Significantly, India Friday boycotted a reception at the Pakistan High Commission here to mark Pakistan’s National Day, objecting to invites extended to several separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for the event.

The official sources in New Delhi said the prime minister sends a customary message on National Days to other heads of state and government and added that his message to Khan highlighted the importance of a terror-free South Asia.

Every year on March 23, Pakistan celebrates its National Day commemorating the Lahore Resolution passed on March 23, 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan on March 23, 1956.

Islamabad’s Envoy Vouches For Dialogue  

Pakistan and India should resolve all outstanding issues and disputes peacefully through dialogue, Pakistani envoy to India Sohail Mahmood said Saturday.

Mahmood, speaking at a function at the Pakistan High Commission here to mark Pakistan Day, underlined his country’s desire for peaceful and good-neighbourly relations with India.

Alluding to recent tensions in bilateral ties, the High Commissioner noted that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, return of two High Commissioners to their respective missions, and continuing bilateral meetings to develop modalities for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur corridor were steps in a “positive direction”.

He said it was important for Pakistan and India to resolve all outstanding issues and disputes peacefully through dialogue.

Pakistan had repeatedly underlined that its desire for peace was not a sign of weakness, but a reflection of constructive thinking of a secure and confident nation, the country’s envoy was quoted as saying by a High Commission statement.

On Friday evening, a National Day reception was hosted by the High Commissioner.

 


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