Pak seeks full resumption of composite dialogue

Islamabad: Pakistan has insisted on the full-fledged resumption of the composite dialogue in proposals submitted to India through diplomatic channels ahead of the upcoming meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries.

The two countries have exchanged several proposals in the run-up to the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries on the sidelines of a SAARC meet to be held in Bhutan on February 6-7.

The most recent exchange of proposals by diplomats was in Islamabad yesterday, a senior official of the Pakistani government said.

Pakistan has called for the "restoration of the full spectrum of relations" and resumption of talks on all issues included in the stalled composite dialogue, the official said.

He added that Islamabad is also trying to convince New Delhi to work for a "positive outcome" in the meeting of Foreign Ministers to be held after the parleys between the Foreign Secretaries.

The Foreign Ministers are expected to meet in the first quarter of the year, possibly in March, in New Delhi.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna recently renewed his invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit India for talks.

Though Krishna first extended the invitation when he visited Islamabad in July last year, Qureshi`s visit has been delayed because the two sides have not been able to find common ground on the agenda for talks between the Foreign Ministers, sources in Pakistan`s Foreign Office told PTI.

Qureshi has been insisting he will travel to India only if the two sides agree to hold "meaningful and result-oriented" talks.

The senior Pakistan government official acknowledged that contacts through diplomatic channels had continued away from the media glare even after the meeting of the Foreign Ministers in Islamabad in July 2010 ended inconclusively.

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir met Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal several times as part of these contacts.

The official contended that the two sides had agreed on an "outcome document" that was to be unveiled after a meeting of the Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UN General Assembly session in September last year.

However, this could not be done after Foreign Minister Qureshi`s speech at the UN session.

In that speech, Qureshi called for the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through a plebiscite and condemned the killing of Kashmiris in a fresh wave of violence.

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