Qureshi Urges US To Play Role In Resumption Of Indo-Pak Dialogue

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Tuesday urged the US to play its role in resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, amid tensions with India following the Pulwama attack and subsequent Indian aerial strike in Balakot.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo spoke over telephone on Tuesday afternoon and exchanged views on the current situation in the region, the Foreign Office said.

Both sides agreed that de-escalation was important for peace and stability in South Asia, it said.

Qureshi said that Pakistan-US ties were important for promoting regional peace and stability. He appreciated US’ role and efforts in deescalating tensions in the region.

He informed Pompeo about the de-escalatory measures taken by Pakistan including the handing over of the Indian pilot.

“He also urged US to play its role for resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India to find solutions to all outstanding disputes,” the FO said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

India launched an airstrike in Balakot on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on March 1.

The FO said that the two leaders agreed to continue to pursue the Afghan reconciliation process.

They also discussed Pakistan’s facilitating role and agreed that the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad’s forthcoming visit to Islamabad would provide an opportunity to further build on the gains made so far.

Qureshi reiterated that intra-Afghan dialogue was an important component of the reconciliation process. He also emphasised the need to enhance interaction at the leadership level.

The foreign minister also briefed Secretary Pompeo about efforts and progress in the implementation of Pakistan’s National Action Plan, the FO said.

The NAP was launched after a deadly Taliban attack on an army run school in Peshawar in December 2014 that killed nearly 150 people, mostly students.

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