Not right for talks with India, says Pakistan

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Islamabad– The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said that doors for diplomacy on outstanding disputes with India remain open, but noted that the environment for a constructive dialogue was lacking.

Responding to questions on ties with India at a briefing, FO spokesman Asim Iftikhar said: “In diplomacy you never shut the doors.”

He said that there was a national consensus on this issue and successive governments had pursued the same policy of seeking peaceful settlement of disputes with India, reports Dawn news.

The questions were asked in the context of overtures by the new government and the appointment of a trade minister in Delhi.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had exchanged messages after the former was elected to the top post on April 11.

The spokesman, while answering a question, noted that notwithstanding Pakistan’s desire for diplomatic resolution of disputes, “the environment for a fruitful, constructive dialogue is not there”.

With a change in the Pakistan federal government, the Commerce Ministry has ruled out the possibility of a resumption of stalled bilateral trade with India, Dawn reported.

The response came from the commerce ministry over the widespread speculation on social media that the new government led by Sharif is considering a proposal to resume trade with its arch rival India.

“There is no change in Pakistan’s policy on trade with India,” an official announcement from the Ministry said.

An official source in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat told Dawn news that the appointment of a trade officer in New Delhi is one of the routine postings, adding that the post of trade officer in the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi has been vacant for years.

The Prime Minister has approved a senior officer of the Commerce and Trade Group, Qamar Zaman, for posting in New Delhi. He is one of the 15 officers appointed for posting in various countries.

“The selection process for the appointment of all these trade officers was started by the previous government,” the official in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat said.

“We have not changed anything in the summary of the previous government,” the source said, adding the selection process was found on merit. (IANS)



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