Monday 24 September 2018 6:22 AM UTC
LAHORE Sept 24: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that Pakistan’s offer of “friendship” to India should not be considered as its weakness and the Indian leadership should shun “arrogance” to hold peace talks.
Mr Khan had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to re-start bilateral talks on key issues including on terrorism and Kashmir.
India initially agreed to a meeting between Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this month.
However, New Delhi on Friday called off the meeting, citing the “brutal” killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of the postal stamps “glorifying” Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani.
Addressing Punjab bureaucracy here on Sunday, Mr Khan said, “I hope the Indian leadership will shun arrogance and hold (peace) talks with Pakistan. Our offer of friendship should not be considered as our weakness. Friendship between Pakistan and India will help overcome poverty”
The Pak Prime Minister said Pakistan “should not be threatened as it will not tolerate any act of hostility.”
“Friendship (between Pakistan and India) is in the benefit of both the countries. We will not take pressure of any world power,” the prime minister said.
In a sharp reaction to India’s cancellation of the meeting, Mr Khan on Saturday said that India’s decision to cancel the foreign minister-level talks in New York was “arrogant” and asserted that he was “disappointed” by the New Delhi’s “negative” response.
“Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture,” he had tweeted.
However, Pakistan’s two major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — have questioned the “haste” shown by Prime Minister Khan in making efforts to mend ties with India and held him responsible for the “diplomatic debacle”, saying he should have done his “homework” before approaching for a meeting.
Ties between India and Pakistan nose-dived following a spate of terror attacks on Indian military bases by Pakistan based terror groups since January 2016. Following the strikes, India announced it will not engage in talks with Pakistan, saying terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand.
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