Insisting that the Army is supportive of dialogue with India, former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should visit his country to kickstart the peace process.
Unlike popular beliefs in India, Kasuri said, both Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha favoured peace talks with New Delhi and were supportive of the back channel efforts made by the two countries.
He said this during a lecture on India-Pakistan relations organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs.
Kasuri said the the Pakistan Army was "appropriately represented" in the back channel talks and the same also finds mention in the disclosure made by Wikileaks.
According to the confidential diplomatic cables made public by the whistleblower website, he said Gen Kayani and Pasha during separate meetings with US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson had said that they supported the peace process with India.
"The Prime Minister should visit Pakistan," Kasuri said in reply to a question on one single step that needs to be taken to kickstart the peace process.
He said the back channel efforts had made significant progress and the two sides were close to a solution. This was seen in statements made by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari within days of assuming office.
Kasuri noted that Zardari had talked about giving some good news regarding the peace process with India.
He also indicated that Pakistan was open to strengthening the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism (JATM) as desired by India.
"Government of Pakistan is open to suggestions to improve the anti-terror mechanism... Joint efforts by the two countries will help stamp out the menace of terrorism," Kasuri said.
The former Pakistan foreign minister said much progress was made on India-Pakistan relations during the tenure of General Pervez Musharraf as the President.
He said the two sides were even discussing military exchanges during the back channel talks.
Kasuri said the peace process was started by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took it forward.
On the issue of fundamentalism, he said there were people who exploit emotive religious issues in both the countries.
Kasuri said that the protests in Karachi against slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer were organised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Fazl-ur Rahman on the issue of blasphemy laws.
"Rahman would not be able to gather 500 people on the issue of Pakistan declaring war against India," he said indicating that there was popular support for the peace process in his country.
Army Not Against Peace; PM Should Visit Pak: Kasuri
THE LATEST ISSUE
- Explained: What Is N440K Covid Variant? Is It More Virulent? Know What CCMB Says
- Himanta Biswa Sarma To Take Oath As Assam Chief Minister Today
- ‘I Would Like To Play Women Who Are Irresponsible': Konkona Sen
- Lockdown In Delhi Extended Till May 17: Arvind Kejriwal
- Tamil Nadu's New Health Minister MA Subramanian Is Also A Marathon Runner
- India In England: Prithvi Shaw Unlucky, Hardik Pandya Needs To Prove All-rounder Credentials
- Online Real Money Gaming: Why Present Is Imperfect And Future Is Tense
- For IPL Organisers, Loss Of Revenue Seems More Important Than Loss Of Lives Due To COVID
- Why Should Boys Have All The Fun? Sports For One And All!
- Why Virat Kohli Is Right And ICC Wrong: A Philosopher Looks At DRS
- Led By Debutants Why Indian Cricket Is On Top Of The World
- Cong Leader Mallikarjun Kharge Urges PM Modi To Hold All-Party Meeting
- Talks For National Alliance Of Opposition Parties To Start Soon: Raut
- YouTuber Rahul Vohra Dies Hours After Predicting His Death On Facebook
- Sikh Body Provides Oxygen Concentrators To Covid Patients
- Youth Congress President Steps Into Sonu Sood’s Shoes
- How India’s Top Sports Institution Let Covid Breach Elite Training Camps
- Lewis Hamilton Wins Record-equalling Sixth Spanish Grand Prix
- Remainder Of IPL 2021 Can't Happen In India, Says Sourav Ganguly