Pakistani prime minister says time for dialogue to resolve all issues with India

A Pakistani citizen watching Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan address to the nation on August 19, 2018. (File/Reuters)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Pakistani prime minister says time for dialogue to resolve all issues with India

  • Khan welcomes Indian prime minister Modi’s message to the people of Pakistan on Pakistan Day
  • Says time to forge a new relationship based on peace and prosperity

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday welcomed a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Pakistan Day and said it was time to begin a dialogue to resolve all issues.

Nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and India have fought three wars since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, two of them over Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region that both claim in full but govern in part.

Tensions between the arch-rivals rose sharply last month over a suicide attack in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir in which at least 40 paramilitary troopers were killed. As India launched airstrikes in Pakistan and Pakistan retaliated with strikes of its own, the possibility of all-out war seemed all too real.

“I welcome PM Modi's message to our people,” Khan said in a Twitter post. “As we celebrate Pakistan Day I believe it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address & resolve all issues, esp the central issue of Kashmir, & forge a new relationship based on peace & prosperity for all our people.”

In a separate post, Khan said he had received the following message from Modi on the occasion of Pakistan Day, celebrated across the country to mark the anniversary of a 1940 resolution calling for a separate homeland for Muslims in India:

"I extend my greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan. It is time that ppl of Sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.”

Last year, soon after being elected as prime minister, Khan proposed talks to resolve the long-standing dispute over Kashmir and said Pakistan was ready to respond positively to any effort at dialogue.

“If India comes and takes one step toward us, we will take two,” Khan said after the July general election.

But in September, New Delhi called off a meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, just a day after confirming it, citing “unclean intentions” on Pakistan’s side.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants fighting Indian rule in the Indian administered Kashmir. Pakistan denies this, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support to people in Indian-held Kashmir fighting for self-determination.


North Korea’s Kim seeks a friend in Putin after Trump fall out

Updated 3 min 29 sec ago
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North Korea’s Kim seeks a friend in Putin after Trump fall out

VLADIVOSTOK: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at a summit designed to show that Washington is not the only power able to set the agenda on Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The two men embarked on a day of talks on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim’s summit with US President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.

Putin and Kim, in their first ever face-to-face encounter, shook hands outside the summit venue, a university campus, then sat down in a conference room to exchange greetings in front of the television cameras.

Putin said he hoped Kim’s visit would “help us better understand by what means we can reach a settlement on the Korean peninsula, what we can do together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes now underway.”

“Without question we welcome your efforts to develop dialogue between the Koreas, and to normalize North Korean-US relations,” Putin said.

Kim, who had arrived in Vladivostok a day earlier on board his armored train, told Putin the meeting would help strengthen and develop ties between Russia and North Korea, which share a long history of friendship.

“As world attention is focused on the Korean Peninsula, there will be very meaningful dialogue for us to jointly assess the Korean peninsula policies and share, coordinate and study our views,” Kim said.

The summit in Vladivostok provides Pyongyang with an opportunity to seek support from a new quarter, Russia, and possible relief from the sanctions hurting its economy.

For the Kremlin, the summit is a chance to show it is a global diplomatic player, despite efforts by the United States and other Western states to isolate it.

But with Moscow committed to upholding sanctions until the North dismantles its nuclear program, analysts said the summit was unlikely to produce any tangible help for Pyongyang, beyond a show of camaraderie.