Pakistan stands for “meaningful and serious dialogue” with India, a top official has said, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
Reacting with “cautious optimism”, Sartaj Aziz, the advisor on foreign affairs and national security, said India took the step due to persuasion by the UN and some countries, the Daily Times reported .
Aziz said Modi’s telephone call and the decision to send Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Islamabad was a good start in breaking the ice between the two countries.
But whether it would lead to the actual resumption of a meaningful dialogue remained to be seen and depended on the talks between the foreign secretaries.
He was quoted as saying that he was not a pessimist.
“I am cautiously optimistic now that visit has been resumed. Obviously there would be discussion on the agenda scope of the dialogue, modalities and the timeline. Once the dialogue process starts, it gathers its own momentum.”
Aziz said it was the result of persuasion by the UN and other countries that India was forced to re-initiate the dialogue process and “may be some internal dynamics of Kashmir played some role”.
Regarding Kashmir, he said there was no major change in Pakistan’s policy. But “we are ready to talk on other issues” in the hope that the issue would be addressed seriously.
Pakistan expects India to make a “serious resumption of dialogue”, Aziz said. “It has to be composite and comprehensive dialogue.”
Aziz acknowledged that Pakistan had hardened its stand on several issues, including Kashmir, after the suspension of talks as the peace process “has not moved”.
He added: “There is tension on the borders, you can’t just ignore it.” He said Pakistan could no longer say that it wouldn’t insist on the UN resolutions on Kashmir.
Aziz said former president Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula for resolving the Kashmir issue too might no longer be relevant.