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Pakistan Denies Having Received Indian PM’s Invite to Talks

© REUTERS / Faisal MahmoodPakistan's new Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi listens during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan August 20, 2018
Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi listens during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan August 20, 2018 - Sputnik International
On Monday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quoted by the media as saying that the Indian PM had “sent a message for open talks.” However, in less than an hour, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a clarification that Qureshi was “misquoted” by the Indian media.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India and Pakistan have both denied reports of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi having extended an invitation for peace talks to Pakistan's newly elected counterpart Imran Khan.

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The Foreign Minister had not stated that "the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue", but had said that the Indian Prime Minister in his letter to Prime Minister, Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, had also mentioned something similar to what the Foreign Minister had elucidated earlier i.e. that the way forward was only through constructive engagement," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry clarified in a statement.

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Nevertheless, Pakistan has called for the resumption of a comprehensive peace dialogue, which has remained suspended for the last two years after a series of terrorist attacks on Indian military camps.

"Pakistan looks forward to a mutually beneficial, uninterrupted dialogue with India to resolve all issues. Any attempts to instigate controversy and vitiate the environment are counterproductive and against the spirit of responsible journalism," Pakistan's Foreign Ministry added.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, an Indian foreign ministry official confirmed that Modi wrote to Imran Khan on Saturday and "expressed India's commitment to build good neighborly relations between India and Pakistan and pursue meaningful and constructive engagement for the benefit of the people of the region."

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Both the countries have been indicating a positive outlook towards the resumption of dialogue since Imran Khan's victory in the recent elections. Indian Prime Minister Modi had made a telephonic call soon after the election results in Pakistan were declared and had conveyed India's readiness "to enter a new era of relations with Islamabad." He had suggested that both countries should adopt a joint strategy for progress in bilateral ties.

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Imran Khan had reciprocated by saying that Pakistan was ready to respond positively to any effort at a dialogue.

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"If India comes and takes one step toward us, we will take two," 65 years old Imran Khan said.

Immediately after the election victory, Khan stated that Kashmir is the "core" issue between the two countries underscoring the need for resolution through dialogue.

"I am a person who arguably knows the most people in India because of my days in cricket. We can resolve the poverty crisis in South East Asia. The biggest problem is Kashmir," Khan had said.

However, in his first address to the nation on Sunday, the Pakistani Prime Minister skipped mentioning Kashmir altogether.


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