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Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi received a delegation of prominent members of “Pakistan’s Civil Society’s Peace Mission” to India. The members of the Peace Mission, who attended the meeting, included Ms Asama Jehangir, Mr. I. A. Rehman, Mr. Imtiaz Alam, Mr. Nusrat Javed, Dr. A.H. Nayyar, Musarrat Hilali and Mr. Rashid Rizvi. This Mission is a non-official dialogue aimed at facilitating greater understanding between India and Pakistan through exchanges and discussions amongst prominent scholars and intellectuals.

The Foreign Minister apprised the members of Peace Mission of the Government’s commitment to maintain Pakistan’s cooperative approach to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai incident to justice and the need for cooperation between the two countries to jointly fight the nefarious forces of terrorism which is the common enemy of the people of two countries. He noted that it was important for Pakistan and India to chart the way forward on anti-terrorism cooperation as well as the imperative need for an across the board constructive bilateral engagement and resumption of the peace process.

The Foreign Minister recounted the measures Pakistan has taken in the wake of Mumbai terrorist attacks. He recalled that the composite dialogue had made considerable progress towards confidence building, bilateral trade and people to people contacts. Pakistan believes that sustained engagement and dialogue is necessary to allay each other’s concerns. Breakdown of dialogue only works to the advantage of the terrorists. Conflict, confrontation and tensions are exactly what the terrorists want. We should not walk into their trap. It is important to show statesmanship.

The Foreign Minster commended the members of the Peace Mission for their efforts to promote better understanding between the peoples of two countries. The Foreign Minster hoped that the forum would continue to come up with innovative ideas and options for moving the peace process forward.

20 January, 2009

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