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Hope for result-oriented engagement with India

Islamabad: On the eve of Indo-Pak talks, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar today said Pakistan is looking forward to a "pro-active, productive and result- oriented" engagement with India on all issues, including Kashmir on which "we should not be held hostage to history".

The 34-year-old minister however said both countries have committed themselves to an "uninterrupted and uninterruptible" peace process since they began their re-engagement earlier this year.

"We are looking forward to a pro-active, productive and result-oriented engagement in India and the signals we`re getting is that we should be expecting the same from them," Khar said during a brief interaction with journalists in Lahore this afternoon before her departure.

"Both the countries are looking forward to, and are committed to, an uninterrupted and uninterruptible process as has been proven in the last few months and (this) relates to peace and development in the region," she said.

The peace process was resumed "within the Thimphu spirit", Khar said, referring to a meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in the Bhutanese capital, where they agreed that the "only way forward is that of engagement".

Pakistan should have "realistic and pragmatic expectations" from the ministerial talks to be held in New Delhi tomorrow.

The two Foreign Ministers will review the talks held under the peace process this year and set the "forward direction", she said.

Noting that "re-engagement is better than no engagement", Khar said there had been "forward movement" between the two sides in some area over the past few months.

"Can you solve a problem with a friend and good neighbour with whom you have ties or with an enemy? Difficulties have been eased by engagement," she said.

Khar said talks will be held on all issues, including Kashmir.

Pakistan has a well-established position on the Kashmir issue and has taken a "principled stand on the right of self-determination" for the Kashmiris, she said.

"For the credibility of the dialogue process and to make it result-oriented, Pakistan`s view is that the Kashmiri leadership should also be involved in the process," she added.

Asked whether India was adopting delaying tactics on the Kashmir issue, Khar replied: "We should not be held hostage to history. We should learn from history but not be burdened by it. I am very positive on this and Pakistan?s interest is in result-oriented dialogue. I have no reason to believe India does not want result-oriented talks."

If issues fester, both countries will be unable to fully exploit their capacity and capability for development, she said.

All important political parties and leaders, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of the PML-Q and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, are backing the peace process with India, she said.

"This gives me a lot of confidence because I`m strengthened by the fact that not only the government of Pakistan is supportive of, and expects the best from, this dialogue but that the entire society, represented by important political parties, is supportive of this process," she said.

The fight against terrorism also "shows the convergence of interests and views" of India and Pakistan, Khar contended.

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