M A I N   N E W S

Keen to engage with new govt, but it takes two to tango: Pak 
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 8
Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit today said Pakistan was looking forward to engaging with the new Indian Government for a comprehensive and meaningful dialogue to sort out all bilateral issues.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune before inaugurating The Pakistan Show, a five-day mega event in Amritsar, Basit said, “Our effort would be to engage with the new government comprehensively and meaningfully with a view to resolve all issues and to create a new narrative of bilateral relations anchored in peace and mutual respect.”

On bridging the trust deficit between the neighbours, Basit said it was important for both nations to make decide once and for all whether or not they would like to turn over a new leaf. "If we want to turn over a new leaf, we would be required to willingly engage to resolve our problems. We already have a comprehensive dialogue framework under which we are discussing issues, including Kashmir. Now it is incumbent upon us that we revert to that process without wasting much time and try to move forward. We have already wasted too much time and given the fact that the world is moving forward while our region continues to be mired in huge difficulties such as poverty and illiteracy, the time has come to introspect. Unless we make a firm decision to move forward, we will continue to face reverses,” he said.

Basit said there was a groundswell of desire on both sides of the border to normalise relations. He, however, emphasised that the dialogue process had to be in mutual interest. “Dialogue is not a favour by one country to the other. We must understand peace is in our mutual interest.”

On reports about apprehensions in Pakistan over the possibility of Narendra Modi coming to power, he said it was too early to comment. “We are waiting for the results. I assure you our government is willing to engage seriously and comprehensively because we genuinely want peace in this region and to change the paradigm from conflict to cooperation whichever government comes to power. This is our strategic objective that obviously has to be met with reciprocity. As they say, it takes two to tango.”

On granting most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India, Basit said Islamabad was committed to liberalise trade between the countries under the WTO. “We have been in touch with India and will be able to revisit the issue when the new government takes charge.” 

‘Pakistan Show’ kicks off

The five-day exhibition-cum-sale showcases popular Pakistani onyx marble goods, textiles, dry fruits, carpets, jewellery, home appliances and crockery among other products. A special food court will dish out authentic, mouth-watering delicacies. Noted Pakistani artiste Arif Lohar and others are scheduled to perform at the cultural evenings. 





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