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Pakistan needs to improve its relations with India: Qureshi

Pakistan needs to improve its relations with India so that it can focus on the situation along its western border with Afghanistan where more troops have been deployed than at any time in the past, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Islamabad
UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2010 08:26 PM IST

Pakistan needs to improve its relations with India so that it can focus on the situation along its western border with Afghanistan where more troops have been deployed than at any time in the past, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.

"I am aware that the attention of Pakistan's armed forces is now focused on the western border. There has never been such a big deployment on our western border in the past. Is it not in Pakistan's interest that there should be some betterment in the situation on our eastern front if we are to give attention to the western front and make progress there?" he said.

It is in Pakistan's interest to sit at the negotiating table for talks with India to ensure political stability, economic growth and success in the campaign against extremism and terrorism, Qureshi said in an interview with Geo News channel.

"Besides, I do not see any other solution," he said.

Qureshi side-stepped a question on India's demand for action against Hafiz Saeed, the JuD chief and founder of the banned Lashker-e-Taiba that has been blamed for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

He said Saeed had been detained twice by the government only to be freed on the orders of the judiciary.

"India links Hafiz Saeed sahab's issue to terrorism and...to the Mumbai incident. Our view is that we detained him twice and our courts freed him on the ground that the evidence (against him) was inadequate. The judiciary is independent and we have to respect their decision," he said.

Asked whether the ongoing India-Pakistan re-engagement process would be able to withstand another Mumbai-like attack, Qureshi said the two countries should ensure the process becomes "irreversible" if they "want to achieve something".

"If you want to start and then stop as in the past, it will be talks without results. This has happened in the past and the whole region loses," he said.

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