Pak says it has not knelt before India

Pak says it has not knelt before India

Pak says it has not knelt before India

''India, which had broken off the composite dialogue process and spoken of severing contacts with Pakistan, has come to us and sought talks. We never kneeled before them and did not bow to their pressure,'' Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a gathering in his hometown of Multan in Punjab province yesterday.

He, however, said that Pakistan will go ahead with the talks because it has a "strong case" on several outstanding issues, including Kashmir and sharing of river waters.

The minister's remarks comes close on the heels of India proposing talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir suggesting either February 18 or 25 for holding the meeting. The talks were suspended after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Qureshi claimed India had tried to isolate Pakistan diplomatically but had failed due to the "effective" policies pursued by Islamabad.

Pakistan will not tolerate any pressure and will protect its interests, he asserted.
Qureshi will chair several meetings this week to assess the Indian proposal and finalise an agenda for the talks.

The minister recalled that he was in New Delhi at the time of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008.

"I still stand by the stance Pakistan had taken at that time," he said. Pakistan had condemned the 26/11 attacks.

"Our stance was principled and based on truth," he said, adding that Pakistan itself had faced several challenging situations during the past two years.

Terrorists were targeting mosques and religious processions but the government is determined to crush terrorism and would not let terrorists succeed in their nefarious designs, Qureshi said.

Pakistan's armed forces have launched successful operations against terrorists and an international conference on Afghanistan held recently in London had commended the country's role in the war on terror and acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by the people and the military, he said.

In a brief interaction with the media after the meeting, Qureshi said all issues will be discussed during the upcoming talks with India.

Pakistan will put up its problems and India will present its issues during the parleys, he said.

Asked to comment on India's contention that cross-border infiltration of militants had increased in the recent past, Qureshi said all issues will be discussed at the negotiating table and not through the media.

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