Modi-Sharif meet: We welcome talks, joint statement should reflect Pakistan’s concerns too, says Sherry Rehman
Islamabad, July 10, 2015: Welcoming the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Senator Sherry Rehman said that the PPP has always supported a constructive peace process, yet the joint statement issued after such an important meeting should have reflected Pakistan’s concerns clearly and precisely as well. “Right now, it is one sided,” she said.
“We welcome PM Modi to the SAARC summit, and we support PM Sharif’s peace efforts, but breakthroughs in the bilateral relationship can only be achieved when concerns from both sides are successfully communicated,” said the Senator, adding, that otherwise, such initiatives fall short of sustainable peace. “Successful diplomacy is always about stating your case – in this case Pakistan’s concerns look as if they have been put on a collective back burner.”
Rehman said that talks between India and Pakistan have failed previously because of just that. “Not voicing our concerns immediately will inevitably lead to another stalemate once the contentious issues are finally put forward from our side. Attempts at skirting around hard-hitting issues, or postponing discussions on them for fear of an impasse have in the past too led to exactly that,” she said.
Rehman said that muscular articulations from the BJP government cannot and should not act as deterrents to dialogue on issues of actual concern, nor can operational exchanges divert attention required on them. “However, maintaining an uninterruptable dialogue is not predicated on accepting only one sides concerns. Pakistan is bravely fighting terrorism at home and international forums should be used better than this for advancing Pakistan’s bilateral concerns. This position will only shrink space for peace makers.”
The two premiers met at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, where both have been observers and are now members. Rehman said the PPP welcomed Pakistan and India’s entry into the SCO and said that now the attention of the world was on the region, of which Pakistan and India are the linchpin.
“Both countries need to work together to ensure peace in the region as well as within themselves, especially with the common threats both face including environmental degradation, which is an avenue both can cooperate on,” concluded Rehman.