Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan foreign minister, will be reviewing the India-Pakistan dialogue process with her Indian counterpart SM Krishna. Talking to Hindustan Times, she addressed the concerns on terrorism. Excerpts from the eclusive interview:
You will be reviewing the
India-Pakistan dialogue process with your Indian counterpart on Saturday. Do you think India is making the talks conditional by saying addressing the concerns on terrorism including bringing the Mumbai attackers to justice is necessary for normalisation of the ties?
I cannot really talk about Indian diplomacy, Indian politics or Indian intent. But, I can talk about Pakistan's diplomacy, politics and intent .There is a political consensus in Pakistan to move ahead in the dialogue process with India. We don't believe in conditional diplomacy and I can give you many examples to prove it. President Zardari took moments to accept the invitation from the Indian prime minister is a testimony to what I have just said. The fact that Pakistan has a changed the position it held on to for past 45 years for normalizing trade ties is an open testimony to it. I must tell you that Pakistan is today engaging in proactive diplomacy and not in reactive diplomacy. We will create place to move on and what we will take the lead. And for us, moving forward is a not conditional approach. We are absolutely sure on this: we want to forge ahead on the India-Pakistan relationship.
Has India given you enough evidence to bring the Mumbai terror attack plotters and minders to justice? What's your take on this?
If I were to take a judgment call on it.. I would say, I wish I could. But I am not the authority which has to look at the evidence. Ok, the authority to take a look at the evidence, like it is in India, or in any other country is the judiciary. Whatever holds in the court of law will of course be very useful. We need to say that. We continue to say that. We are encouraged by the fact that there might be a possibility of the judicial commission visiting India to cross examine the witnesses. We hope that if and when it happens, it will give some forward movement to the resolution of the issue. Let me say this unequivocally - it is in the interest of Pakistan to resolve the issue. We don't want the relationship to be bogged down by this -for that matter, by any another issue.
Both President Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani came to India and held talks with Indian prime minister (though they were sideline events in some sense). Are you hopeful of hosting Indian PM soon. How do you see the Indian position that there has to be a "right atmosphere and suitable outcomes" for that?
Again, I cannot talk about Indian diplomacy, positions or intent. We have given strong signals that we are keen on the visit of Indian prime minister. We don't believe in conditional diplomacy. If you look at it, that's how we have done it. For the Mohali, visit, the decision was taken immediately, he took just hours to finalise it. We believe if there is engagement at the leadership level, it will create serious momentum and serious pace for the talks' process. It will bring us closer to each other and help us move closer to resolving some of the key issues between the two countries?
You are saying Pakistan doesn't believe in conditional diplomacy. But aren't you making the resolution on Sir Creek conditional to solving the Siachen issue?
Well, what I am saying is that for us, we are ready to stand by the agreement that was about to be signed a decade or so back.
Are you referring to 1989, madam?
Yes… What we are saying is this, we are sorry for the missed opportunities from both sides. We are committed not missing an another opportunity. There are no conditionalities attached to any of these. We are standing by what we have agreed on many many years ago. It will be in the interest of both the countries to give serious signals to everyone that we are capable, we are matured enough to resolve our serious issues.
Is it that simple?
We in Pakistan for instance know that Indian military or some institutions of Indian government are against it. We are keen on its resolution. As a foreign minister I can tell you that. We are saying we had agreed to resolve this issue many many years ago. What India might have thought it was in interest in 1989 must at some level continue be in its interest now too.
When we say that we are not new putting any new conditions, we want India to reciprocate in someways.
Many would argue both India and Pakistan the governments are faced with tough issues, tough times. So do you think there are strong political will in both countries to go ahead with the peace process?
I guarantee you. We have it in Pakistan. There is political will as well as political consensus to improve ties with India
There are terrorist threats to Pakistan nuclear installations. It again brings to the fore the question about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons?
It is a settled issue. I don't want to discuss it.