Qatar Ambassador to Pakistan Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Sunday called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir to discuss bilateral relations.
The statement issued by the Qatari Embassy in Islamabad said the Qatar ambassador handed over a message from atar Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to Prime Minister Shehbaz, pertaining to bilateral relations and ways to support and develop them.
In a separate meeting with Army Chief General Asim Munir, the Qatar ambassador discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest.
Read also: Pakistan Wants UAE To Help Start Talks With India
Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif had asked Emirati president Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to facilitate dialogue with India, and vowed sincere talks with the arch rivals if a channel were to open. The prime minister told an international news channel that he made this request of president Al Nahyan during his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates.
The premier confirmed that he had sought Al-Nahyan’s help for Dialogue with India, and noted that Pakistan had “learnt its lesson” and “was ready for peace”.
“I have requested Mohammed bin Zayed, that he’s a brother of Pakistan and the UAE is a brotherly country. He also has good relations with India, he can play a very important role to bring the two countries on the talking table and I give my word of honour that we will be talking to Indians with sincerity of purpose,” the Pakistani prime minister said.
The prime minister met Emirati president Al Nahyan on 12 January in Abu Dhabi, during his two-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The visit was premier Sharif’s third to the UAE since assuming office in April, and was focused on promoting bilateral economic, trade, and investment ties.
Recalling three wars with India, the resultant toxicity in ties and suffering that were caused to the people, PM Sharif said that “we have learnt our lesson” and Pakistan wanted to live in peace.
However, he conditioned the offer to the resolution of “genuine problems”, specifically mentioning the Kashmir dispute that continues to poison relations between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.
The prime minister’s spokesman later tweeted that it has been PM Sharif’s consistent position that talks would not be possible till India reversed its “illegal action of 5 August 2019”. The spokesman also clarified that the settlement of the Kashmir dispute must be in accordance with the UN resolutions, and in line with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Conspicuously, the word Kashmir was absent from the UAE-Pakistan joint statement issued at the end of the Pakistani prime minister’s two-day official visit. This is notwithstanding the prime minister’s emphasis on the centrality of the Kashmir dispute in any dialogue with India, including one potentially facilitated by the UAE.