Pakistan For Resolving Kashmir Issue Through Dialogue: Sharif

6 May 2014
The Hindu
Meena Menon

Islamabad: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Pakistan was committed to reaching out to India and seeking a peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, through a sustained dialogue. 'Pakistan desires peace and tranquillity in the Middle East and it would maintain its policy of non- interference in the internal affairs of States,' Mr. Sharif said at a meeting of Pakistan envoys to West Asian countries. He said the central emphasis had been on building a 'peaceful neighbourhood,' and he had pursued a policy of constructive engagement with all neighbours. 'We are also paying attention to the promotion of our special relationships with countries in the Gulf and Middle East. Recent exchanges at the highest level reflect these endeavours,' he said, according to an official statement. 'We have an equal aspiration to forge closer bilateral ties with all countries in the region. Our efforts to develop bilateral ties with one country are not and will not be at the expense of another. Pakistan remains ready to take two steps to greet a hand extended in friendship,' he pointed out. The main dynamic in South Asia should be cooperation, not confrontation, he said. He outlined a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan, and support for the peace and reconciliation process in that country. The bilateral relationship, he said, should be marked by enhanced trade and economic cooperation. Since June 2013, Pakistan had reinforced its strategic partnership with China, re-oriented the relationship with the U.S., upgraded ties with the European Union, reached out afresh to Russia, and strengthened linkages with the ASEAN, Africa and Latin America, he said. In this age of globalisation and growing inter-dependence, Mr. Sharif said foreign policy had also virtually become economic policy. 'My emphasis on economic diplomacy stems from this belief,' he added.