Pakistan to send envoy Sohail Mahmood back to India

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday said Pakistan is sending its envoy back to India and is ready to engage with New Delhi to reduce tensions which are “de-escalating” due to diplomatic efforts by countries like the US, China and Russia. Qureshi said it is time to end all our conflicts and move towards peace.

He said that Pakistan wanted to sort out all issues with India which are hindering peace between the two countries. “Tensions between India and Pakistan appear to be de-escalating and this is a positive development,” Qureshi said while speaking to the media here.

“Pakistan has further increased diplomatic efforts and we have decided to send back the Pakistani high commissioner to New Delhi (Sohail Mahmood),” he added.

Pakistan had called its envoy back to Islamabad for urgent consultations in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) which left 40 CRPF personnel dead. Islamabad took the step after India called back its envoy Ajay Bisaria to New Delhi. After the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting what it said was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was handed over to India on Friday.

The foreign minister also thanked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his role in the current situation with India. “I did not want to say it but private diplomacy worked,” he said.

“US through private diplomacy played a role in de-escalating tensions between Pakistan and India,” he said.

He said foreign ministers of China, Russia, Turkey, the UAE and Jordan also played a significant role in reducing tension between the two countries.

Qureshi termed the last month’s Indian air strikes on JeM target as an “act of aggression”, which, he said, was against all international laws.

Talking about the latest developments, he said that in line with Pakistan’s consistent desire for regional peace and de-escalation, Pakistan has conveyed to India that it will send its delegation to New Delhi on March 14 to discuss a draft agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor.

On Wednesday, Qureshi also briefed his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the current situation in the region.

Foreign Minister Kono called Qureshi to discuss the situation of peace and security in the region, according to the Foreign Office.

Qureshi informed him that he would undertake a visit to Japan soon, which was postponed due to the rise in recent tensions in the region.

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Free Press Journal