ISLAMABAD  -    Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to speak to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for the sake of peace in the region, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Thursday.

His statement came as Prime Minister Khan told the parliament he had already tried to contact Modi.  The PM said release of the India pilot Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was the first step to open negotiations and deescalate the situation.

The premier urged the international community to play its due role in defusing the situation as any conflict between the two nuclear armed neighbors could lead to devastating consequences.

“PM Imran Khan is ready to speak to PM Modi. The question is are they ready (for talks). Prime Minister Imran Khan can speak to him over the telephone,” the FM told journalists here.

He said United States President Donald Trump’s remarks on escalating tensions between Pakistan and India should be taken positively.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated since a suicide attack in occupied Kashmir killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers. The attack saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 members of the paramilitary CRPF.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan was ready for dialogue with India on all issues including terrorism.

Speaking to journalists here, Faisal said Kashmir was the core issue between Pakistan and India and must be resolved through talks.

He said a dossier was received from India over the Pulwama attack and action will be taken on any actionable intelligence. “If we have something actionable, we will act,” he said.

Faisal said Pakistan will facilitate the team of UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan to the site where the Indian Air Force jets were shot down.

The spokesperson said the world had supported Pakistan’s point of view on the aggression by India. “We briefed the international community that even if there is any terrorist outfit to be acted against, there is nothing in international law that allows for such  territorial aggression,” he added.  

Faisal said India had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty on the pretext of terrorism which could push the region into chaos.

“But our desire for peace should not be taken as weakness. Pakistan has acted comprehensively to root out terrorism from its soil under the National Action Plan,” he pointed out.

Faisal said there were voices within India that the policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were pushing the entire region into destruction.

He said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will not attend the Foreign Ministers’ session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi today (march 1) if Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Sawraj participated.

The Indian minister has been invited as a ‘guest of honour’ at the inaugural session of the foreign ministers’ conclave in Abu Dhabi.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been escalated since a suicide attack in Kashmir killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers. The attack saw explosives packed inside a van rip through buses in a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying some 2,500 members of the paramilitary CRPF.