Positive response from India must for meaningful talks: Qureshi

Pakistan stands ready for talks with India on issues such as Kashmir provided a “positive response” is received to its suggestions aimed at making the meeting “meaningful,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.

Amid continuing speculations about the possibility of his meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Qureshi dispelled the impression being created in India that he was setting conditions on holding the talks, saying Pakistan only wants the talks to be purposeful.

“We have made some suggestions through diplomatic channels so that the talks become useful,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 65h session of the UN General Assembly.

The foreign minister would not specify the suggestions, but said they were aimed at making the talks helpful in stepping up the process of normalization.

“The talks can take place as soon as a positive response is received from the Indian side”, he added. Without focusing on the lingering Kashmir, water and Siachen disputes, the talks would not be useful, Qureshi emphasized.

“How can Pakistan talk to India without these subjects being on the table,” he said, referring to Islamabad’s stand on making bilateral negotiations “result-oriented, meaningful and substantive for the sake of peace and stability” in South Asia.

“A meaningful dialogue is the only way forward,” Qureshi said, referring to the decision between prime ministers of Pakistan and India in Thimpu, Bhutan, for comprehensive talks under a roadmap towards normalization of relations.

He said the deteriorating situation in held Kashmir was a cause of worry for Pakistan and urged India to listen to the Hurriyat leadership. He called for a restraint on part of India in dealing with the situation in the occupied Kashmir and respects the human rights of the Kashmiri people.

ON Friday, the two foreign ministers had a “chance encounter” at the UN when they were coming out of their respective meetings. During the two minute interaction, they exchanged pleasantries.