Germany yesterday cautioned that there was no military solution to the Pak-India issues and the two nuclear armed countries must hold a dialogue to make peace.
Speaking at a news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here, German FM Heiko Maas expressed concern over the recent tension between Pakistan and India.
“The two countries should sit together and found a way out. We are concerned about the tension between the two countries,” he said.
Maas said that Germany recognized that steps were being taken by Pakistan in deescalating the situation. “We believe that Kashmir requires immediate solution and both sides can contribute in resolving the long standing concerning situation in South Asia,” he added.
Earlier, the German FM and his delegation held a meeting with Qureshi and his team. FM Qureshi reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace in the region.
“Both sides discussed matters pertaining to bilateral relations, regional situation and efforts for peace in Afghanistan,” said a foreign ministry statement.
The Foreign Minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had released the captured Indian pilot Abhinandan as a goodwill gesture despite India’s belligerent posture.
He briefed the German delegation about the regional situation and events taking place in the wake of Pulwama incident.
The German foreign minister appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for restoration of peace in Afghanistan, the statement added.
The German FM also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. During the meeting, they exchanged views on different matters pertaining to mutual interest.
At the news conference, Heiko Maas appreciated the speedy release of the Indian pilot and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of dialogue to India, saying that these steps helped de-escalate the tension between the two countries.
The German FM acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for the elimination of terrorism. He particularly lauded Islamabad’s role in the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Heiko Maas said that Germany has good relations with Pakistan and it wants to promote cooperation with the country in trade and other sectors.
Qureshi said that solution to the lingering Kashmir dispute through dialogue is imperative for peace and stability in the region. He said if there were atrocities in the held valley, there will be reaction.
“Kashmir is the core issue. Dialogue is the only way forward. Pakistan has never shied of dialogue,” he remarked. He said there was now increasing demand within India for engagement and dialogue with Kashmiri leadership.
On terrorism, the foreign minister said this was a regional and global challenge. He pointed out that Pakistan has taken a lot of steps to eliminate this menace. He said the present government is taking steps to implement the consensus National Action Plan on terrorism in letter and spirit.
Qureshi said that being an important stakeholder in Afghan peace process, Pakistan wanted a ‘responsible’ withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had been saying for long that Afghan issue could only be resolved through dialogue and we are glad that now the world was acknowledging our version.
He said however a responsible withdrawal of troops would be in better interest of Pakistan as well as the regional countries.
The German Foreign Minister said “Pakistan is playing an important role in Afghanistan, being a responsible regional country also, we think that Afghan government has to be part of the process for a sustainable peace in the region,” he added. “We feel that inclusion of Afghan government in every table talk is imperative,” he added.
Qureshi said “progress has been made” at ongoing peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and the US that have stretched over two weeks. Qureshi didn’t elaborate, though he added: “Pakistan has encouraged all factions within Afghanistan to sit together and have a meaningful intra-Afghan dialogue.”
Referring to the potential of economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Germany, the foreign minister said that two well renowned German companies have expressed interest for investment in the country. He expressed the confidence that this will encourage others to come and invest in Pakistan. “We welcome foreign investment in the country,” he added.
Qureshi said he also discussed with his German counterpart the idea of establishing a joint foreign trade chamber saying this will be a very positive step towards enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries.
The two foreign ministers discussed the matters pertaining to the German visa facilitation for Pakistani students of higher education. The two sides discussed the idea of ‘partnership schools’ in order to partner in the field of education.