Pakistan backtracks, says PM Modi didn’t offer talks in letter to Imran Khan
Pakistan denied that its foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said “the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue”.Updated: Aug 20, 2018 21:05 IST
The newly-formed Pakistan government on Monday backtracked within hours on its claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “made an offer of a dialogue” in a letter to Imran Khan, who was sworn in as Prime Minister on Saturday.
Earlier on Monday, Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad that “the Indian prime minister has sent a letter in which he congratulated Imran Khan and ... he has sent a message to open talks.”
Clarifying Qureshi’s remarks, the Pakistani foreign ministry said he “had not stated that ‘the Indian Prime Minister had made an offer of a dialogue’” and a controversy was “being unnecessarily created by sections of the Indian media” on the issue.
In a statement, it said that Qureshi “had said that the Indian Prime Minister in his letter to Imran Khan had also mentioned something similar to what the Foreign Minister elucidated earlier i.e. that the way forward was only through constructive engagement,” adding that “Pakistan looks forward to a mutually beneficial, uninterrupted dialogue with India to resolve all issues.”
An Indian foreign ministry official, according to Reuters, confirmed that PM Modi did write to Khan on Sunday and “expressed India’s commitment to build good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.”
Imran Khan, after his victory in the July 25 elections, had said that Pakistan was ready to respond positively to any effort on dialogue. “If India comes and takes one step toward us, we will take two,” Khan had said.
Prime Minister Modi had telephoned Khan to congratulate him on his party’s victory and hoped that “Pakistan and India will work to open a new chapter in bilateral ties”.
First Published: Aug 20, 2018 20:06 IST