Pakistan on Wednesday called for "stability and predictability" in Indo-Pak relations, saying governments on both sides should have the courage to withstand pressure in the wake of "unfortunate incidents" and prevent derailment of ties.
"If we genuinely desire peace, then that commitment to peace will require courage also," Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, who is set to travel to India on Thursday, told PTI in an interview in Islamabad."By courage, I mean, if there is an unfortunate incident, and of course there is a clamour in the media and the Parliament, the government should have the courage to stand up and say 'Yes, an unfortunate incident has happened. We are taking action but that does not derail our relationship'," Khan said.
Bilateral ties were strained early last year following the beheading of an Indian soldier at the Line of Control in January. Till the end of the year, tensions continued to escalate at the LoC which led to a complete breakdown of talks.
In December, the Director Generals of Military Operations from both sides met which ensured tensions are brought down.
The meeting took place three months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in New York and decided that the DGMOs should meet.
Speaking about Indo-Pak trade ties, Khan said substantial progress was made in 2011-12 but then other events intervened and not only blocked diplomatic progress but also trade progress.
"And this is one of the other things that I wish to convey to my counterpart and the Indian government...Now after 66 years of independence, we should be able to have a relationship which is not dependent on single events," he said.
The minister said it is a fact that "unfortunate incidents" have happened like LOC tensions and Mumbai terror attacks but talks should go on. Khan pointed out that after any unfortunate incident, "all things are stopped, blocked and years and months pass and then we again have to do restart relationship again and again."
"I think there should be some stability and predictability to our relations not only to trade but also diplomatic relations," he said.
Khan stressed that the new elected government of Prime Minister Sharif is committed to peace with all its neighbours and to have trade preferentially with them. Pakistan has been pitching for resumption of talks though India has been very guarded.
Image: Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan
Photograph courtesy: WikimediaCommons