Pakistan "very satisfied with outcome" of meeting with India at Thimpu

Islamabad, Feb 13(ANI): Pakistan has expressed its satisfaction with the outcome of the Foreign Secretary-level meeting with India, which was held recently on the sidelines of SAARC meeting at Thimpu.

Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said he held a very constructive meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at the Indo-Pak bilateral meeting.

"I was assured by my Indian interlocutors about the vision for peace by [Indian] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. We had a mandate from our political leadership and we are very satisfied with the outcome," The News quoted Bashir, as saying.

"While the issues that we face are difficult and complex we have managed to set up a timeframe for meetings. But what is important is that we have to show that we have the ability for ownership of our affairs whether they are bilateral or regional. This should lead to stability, peace and development. This will require a lot of patience, responsibility, determination as well as the requisite political will. Anything else will be self defeating," he added.

Bashir also said his talks with Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were cordial, frank and very constructive.

"It is notable that there was no acrimony. We have decided to focus on the big picture. We want a just settlement of disputes," he added.

Bashir did not skirt away from the ground realities and said: "We have a history replete with hope and despair," but added, "This time we are confident and optimistic as we have to start to make a difference in the region."

He also said Pakistan was an important country in the South Asian region, and that it intended to play the role of a 'game changer' there.

"Geography compels us to take responsibility to make efforts to set directions. I am not saying Pakistan is a game changer, but certainly game changer in our own region," he stated.

When asked why the issue of the Samjhauta Express blast and India's alleged role in Balochistan were not included in the joint statement relating to counterterrorism, Bashir said: "It is in our interest to have a special focus on Mumbai under the rubric of counter-terrorism. Inclusion of Mumbai does not prevent us from raising our concerns."

"We have nothing to hide. We want to expose the reality behind terrorism, be it in Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere," he added. (ANI)

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