ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office, on Saturday, ruled out any possibility of a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar as both the foreign ministers are visiting the United Arab Emirates on the invitation of Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan amid reports of 'mediation' by the Gulf state between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for the UAE, on Saturday, on a three-day visit. Qureshi's visit comes at a time when Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar would also be visiting the UAE today, also on the invitation of Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The foreign minister of both Pakistan and India are visiting the UAE following reports appeared of a 'secret' meeting between the top intelligence officers in Dubai, reportedly, in the backdrop of 'mediation' efforts by the UAE for normalisation of relationship of the two neighbouring countries.
However, responding to media queries about any expected meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India during their ongoing visit to the UAE at the same time, the Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri ruled out any possibility of meeting between the two.
"No such meeting is scheduled during Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's ongoing visit to the UAE," Chaudhri added.
To the question of contacts between India and Pakistan, the spokesperson told in his weekly media briefing on Friday that "states have ways and means to communicate with other states which remain available even during wars."
"So, what is important is that whether Pakistan is ready to talk to India; what needs to be discussed between the two sides; and whether a meaningful and result-oriented dialogue can take place under the current environment," Chaudhri remarked.
However, he added that Pakistan has never shied away from talks with India and has always underscored the need for a 'meaningful dialogue' and peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We believe durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute. We, therefore, believe that the two sides need to discuss all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir with a view to seek peaceful resolution of this long outstanding dispute as per international legitimacy," he said, adding that Kashmir remains central to any meaningful engagement between India and Pakistan.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Office announced that Foreign Minister Qureshi will embark on a three-day official visit to the UAE.
During the visit, the foreign minister will meet his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other dignitaries.
The foreign minister will also meet Pakistani diaspora and interact with the local and international media.
The foreign minister will hold consultations with the UAE leadership on all areas of bilateral cooperation including collaboration in trade and investment, job opportunities for Pakistani workforce and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora.
He will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The UAE is home to the second largest Pakistani community abroad.
"Pakistan and the UAE enjoy strong fraternal ties, rooted deep in common faith and shared history and values. High-level visits between the two countries have played a pivotal role in providing further impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation and collaboration on a wide range of issues," the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021