Pakistani mindset positive: Krishna

Trade relations, people-to-people contact between the two nations improving

Ahead of his Pakistan visit next month, Union Minister for External Affairs S M Krishna on Thursday said that there was a positive change in the mindset of Pakistani people towards India.

“During my last meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, she told me that there is a positive change in the mindset of people of Pakistan vis-a-vis relations with India,” Krishna said after inaugurating Srinagar Passport Sewa Kerndra at Boulevard here. He mentioned about the cordial meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at New Delhi when the latter visited Ajmeer earlier this year.  “There is an increasing realisation in Pakistan that it needs to go well along with India. Pakistan has to understand this basic truth,” he added.

The Union minister said trade relations and people-to-people contact between the two countries are improving .

Quoting Singh’s line, Krishna said: “We can choose our friends but we cannot choose our neighbours.” “Sometimes, it can be difficult to make neighbours to see things from one’s own perspective,” he added.

Krishna is scheduled to visit Pakistan from September 7.

According to sources, in a meeting with Khar scheduled to be held on September 8,  Krishna will review the dialogue process, which resumed last year after a gap of over two years following the Mumbai attacks. During his three-day stay in Islamabad, the Union minister  is also expected to call on President Asif Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez
Ashraf and some key political leaders, including PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PML-Q leader Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain.

Sustained talks required

“We know the Kashmir-centric issues are so complex and long drawn that these cannot be resolved in a few meetings but sustained talks to find out solution in a peaceful atmosphere is the only way forward,”said Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of J&K.

“Indo-Pak relations have always direct bearing in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The issues between the two countries cannot disappear overnight but efforts to engage in continuous dialogue shouldn’t stop,” he emphasised. Omar also highlighted the importance of restoring direct flights from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia for Haj pilgrims terming it a huge gift for people of J&K.

“This issue is also connected with Home and Civil Aviation Ministries, and I would call for an active support and help from Krishna in this regard at the central level,” he maintained.

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