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Pakistani president says he wants dialogue with India

Pakistani president says he wants dialogue with India
President Arif Alvi (FILE PHOTO)

ISLAMABAD

Pakistan’s president on Tuesday said that his country wants to use dialogue to work through all its disputes with India, including the contentious Kashmir issue.

"We want resolution of all outstanding issues with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, through peaceful dialogue," Arif Alvi told Pakistani High Commissioner-designate to India Moin-ul-Haq, who called on Alvi at his official residence in the capital Islamabad before leaving for his new assignment.

He added that his country wants friendly relations with all its neighbors including India and would continue its efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the region.

Alvi highlighted that his country took a remarkable step in this regard last November by deciding to open the Kartarpur Corridor which will link Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak in India to allow access to Sikh pilgrims to their most revered place of worship.

The Kartarpur border connects Pakistan’s northeastern city of Narowal to India’s eastern Gurdaspur district.

The distance between the temple and Gurdaspur is only 3 kilometers (2 miles) but the closure of this crossing forces Sikh pilgrims from India to travel hundreds of kilometers, via Amritsar and Lahore, to reach their destination.

"This can be a transformative step for South Asia, which can take the region from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace, and enmity to friendship," said the president.

Alvi also wished the high commissioner-designate a successful stay in India and that he "will be able to perform his duties with utmost dedication and will play an important role in implementing the policy of government of Pakistan for peaceful coexistence and regional stability to benefit the people of the region.

Kashmir issue

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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