Diplomacy, dialogue indispensable to resolve J-K issue: Pakistan envoy to India

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood on Friday said that diplomacy and dialogue are indispensable to resolving the long-standing disputes, including Jammu and Kashmir, between the two countries. Speaking at Pakistan National Day celebration at Pakistan High Commission here, Mahmood said, “Coercive measures have not worked in the past and they will not work in the future. Diplomacy and dialogue remain indispensable for enhancing mutual understanding, addressing mutual concerns and resolving long-standing disputes including Jammu and Kashmir.” Expressing hope for better relations between the two South-Asian nations, he said: “A relationship based on sovereign equality, mutual respect and mutual interest is 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.” Hailing both the nations for their work towards bettering the relations, the Pakistan High Commissioner said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan´s decision to release Wing Commander Abhinandan; the return of the two High Commissioners to their respective Missions, and bilateral meetings to develop modalities for the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Corridor are steps in a positive direction.” He also asserted that the founding fathers of Pakistan and India had envisaged amicable relations between the two countries. “However, the relationship has remained challenged, for the most part of our history as free nations. In particular, the two countries passed through a very difficult time recently. There is, 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 added. He also said that the recent developments depict that the lack of engagement creates a dangerous vacuum and serious risks for the relationship. India did not send any representative to attend the Pakistan National Day function held at the Pakistan High Commission here. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar on Friday said, “The decision was taken after Pakistan High Commission decided to call Hurriyat leaders to the reception. In February, we were very clear that any attempt by Pakistan High Commission or Pakistani leadership to engage with Hurriyat leaders will not be taken lightly.” However, no Hurriyat leaders were seen at the Pakistan High Commission during the event. Pakistan Day is celebrated to mark the Lahore Resolution on March 23 each year. The Lahore Resolution, which is also called Pakistan Resolution, passed on March 23, 1940, is considered a major milestone in the Muslim struggle for an independent Muslim state which was later called Pakistan.