Pak PM Imran Speaks To PM Modi, Expresses Desire To Work Together

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ISLAMABAD —  Breaking the ice in bilateral ties, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday spoke to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and expressed his desire to work together for the betterment of their peoples, the Foreign Office said here.

Khan’s telephone call to Modi came days after the cricketer-turned-politician congratulated on Twitter the Indian Prime Minister on his massive electoral victory in the general elections.

Prime Minister Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a landmark victory for a second five-year term in office, winning 302 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that Khan also congratulated Modi on his party’s electoral victory in the Lok Sabha elections.

Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, Prime Minister Khan said he looks forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives, Faisal said on Twitter.

Khan expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples, he added.

The results of India’s general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the formation of the next government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama terror attack.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party BJP wins the general elections.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and conveyed to her Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

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

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an air strike in Balakot in Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

Creating terrorism-free environment key for regional peace: Modi to Pak PM

In their first telephonic conversation after the Balakot airstrikes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on Sunday that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it was Khan who called up Modi to congratulate him on his re-election.

“The Prime Minister thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings,” it said.

Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s “neighbourhood first” policy, Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to Khan to fight poverty jointly, the MEA said.

“He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism was essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” it added.

The telephonic conversation came amid strained bilateral ties since nearly three months following the Pulwama r attack and India’s subsequent aerial strike in Pakistan’s Balakot.

Khan had also congratulated Modi on Twitter last week after the BJP’s massive victory in the general election.

Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, Khan said he looked forward to working with Modi to advance these objectives, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter.

Khan also expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples, he added.

Modi and Khan are scheduled to meet at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan next month.

After the election results on Thursday, Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu: “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.” 

In April, Khan had said he believed that there might be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling the Kashmir issue if Modi’s BJP won the general election.

Just a day before the announcement of the poll results, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Bishkek. Qureshi conveyed to Swaraj Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

The Pakistani foreign minister had said Islamabad was ready to restart talks with the new government in India after the election outcome was known on May 23. India has told Pakistan that talks and terrorism cannot go hand-in-hand.


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