Asserting that Pakistan would hold talks with India on the “basis of equality” and in a “dignified manner”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the ball was in India’s court to engage with Islamabad and resolve all outstanding issues.
“So India has to make this decision, we are neither in haste nor troubled. When India prepares itself, it would find us prepared, but we will hold talks on the basis of equality, in a dignified manner,” Qureshi told Geo News on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
When asked about the demand by some people that Pakistan should not repeatedly invite India for talks, Qureshi said, “Neither we need to run after anyone, nor we need to demonstrate stubbornness. Pakistan’s approach is very realistic and well thought-out.”
The Pakistan foreign minister also accused the Indian government of being in the “election mindset” to keep their “vote bank intact”.
“India has not come out of its election mindset and the extreme position they had taken to influence their constituency and to keep their vote bank intact. It is still confined in that,” Qureshi said.
Qureshi was the first to confirm on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan exchanged pleasantries and a handshake in the leaders’ lounge. “They exchanged pleasantries and shook hands,” he said. He also told Pakistani media that Khan congratulated Modi on his election victory.
Separately, the Indian government sources, too, said Modi “exchanged usual pleasantries with Pakistan PM Imran Khan in the leaders’ lounge”. But they were also emphatic that there was “no meeting, no pull aside”.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.
In his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, Modi told him that he had made efforts to initiate peace with Pakistan, but that his efforts have been “derailed”. The PM also said Pakistan needed to create an atmosphere “free of terrorism”, but at this stage, Delhi has not seen that from Islamabad’s side.