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Pak urges India to deal with festering issues

india Updated: Aug 01, 2006 20:10 IST

Pakistan and India should stop bickering in public and resolve longstanding disputes over Kashmir and other issues instead of learning to live with problems, a top Pakistani official said on Tuesday.

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan said he was also reassured that a peace process between the old rivals had not been frozen, despite India suspecting Pakistan-based terrorists of involvement in last month's Mumbai train bombings.

Khan's comments came a day after he and his Indian counterpart, Shyam Saran, renewed their commitment to the peace process.

"It is very important that we should not simply learn to live with problems," Khan told reporters on the sidelines of a regional conference in the Bangladesh capital.

"We should try to learn to resolve problems. Resolution of problems is one of the best confidence-building measures," said Khan, the top bureaucrat in Pakistan's foreign ministry.

More than 180 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the Mumbai blasts.
Investigators suspected the coordinated bombings to be the work of Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani military spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence.

Pakistan and Lashkar denied any involvement. But an angry India responded by calling off a meeting scheduled last month between Khan and Saran to review the peace process, saying the atmosphere was not conducive.

Although Khan and Saran did not set new dates for that meeting after their talks late on Monday, the Pakistani foreign secretary said it was now up to India to announce a schedule to resume the dialogue.

"In my meeting, I clearly detected that there is a resolve to maintain the peace process, there is no freeze on the peace process and in fact there was a reaffirmation for continuing the peace process," Khan said.

"There is no rational option to the peace process."

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