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Imran Khan writes to PM Modi, offers talks to resolve Kashmir issue

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in a letter to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Friday said Islamabad wants talks with New Delhi to resolve all reconcilable problems, including the Kashmir issue, according to a media report, a day after India said there will be no bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Bishkek.

In a letter to Mr Modi congratulating him on his second term as the Prime Minister of India, Mr Khan said talks between the two nations were the only solution to help both countries’ people overcome poverty and that it was important to work together for regional development, the Geo TV reported.

Mr Khan said Pakistan desires the resolution of all problems, including that of the Kashmir issue. This is the second time after Mr Modi was re-elected to power that the Pakistani premier has expressed his desire to work together with India for the betterment of their peoples.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also wrote to his new Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar, saying that Islamabad wants talks with New Delhi on “all important matters” and remains committed to efforts for establishing peace in the region.

Mr Qureshi said, “Islamabad wants talks with New Delhi on all important matters and remains committed to efforts for establishing peace in the region.” Sources said Mr Qureshi had written the letter congratulating Mr Jaishankar on his recent appointment as foreign minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet.

Mr Qureshi had last month exchanged pleasantries with the then foreign minister Sushma Swaraj at the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting of the SCO at Bishkek on May 21 and 22. In her address then, Ms Swaraj had referred to the Pulwama terror attack — carried out on February 14 this year by the Pakistan-based terror group JeM — as a “raw wound”. She had also pointed out that India is “determined to fight firmly resolutely” against the menace of terrorism.

It may be recalled that India on Thursday had said “no bilateral meeting” has been planned between Mr Modi and Mr Khan on the sidelines of the forthcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan on June 13 and 14.

But the timing of Mr Qureshi’s letter suggests that Pakistan could be keen on either a formal bilateral meeting or at least an informal “pull-aside” one on the sidelines of the SCO conference between the two leaders.

Tensions between the two countries worsened after the Pulwama terror attack and both the countries were almost on the brink of a war after India’s military planes struck a terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 and Pakistan carried out a counter-offensive the next day.

On May 26, breaking the ice in bilateral ties, Mr Khan spoke to Mr Modi congratulating him on the massive electoral victory in the general elections and expressing his desire to work with him towards the advancing the objective of peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.

Mr Modi on his part called for creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism for fostering peace and prosperity in the region. India has rejected Pakistan’s offer of talks, maintaining that terror and talks cannot go together.

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