MULTAN - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government.

Addressing the participants of an iftar dinner here on Saturday, the foreign minister stressed that both the countries would have to sit on the dialogue table for maintaining peace in the region and resolve all issues. He said that maintaining peace in the region is the desire as well as priority of Pakistan.

He said that Afghanistan is an important country of the region and peace in all neighbouring countries is subject to peace in Afghanistan. “We want peace in Afghanistan so that way is paved for sustainable regional peace,” he asserted. “We always supported solution to Afghan problems which was supported by the Afghan leadership,” the FM pointed out and underscored that this is the only way forward. Qureshi said that it is a good omen that the process of dialogue has begun for peace and reconciliation and “we hoped that other stakeholders and neighbours of Afghanistan would also be taken onboard in this process.” He declared that Pakistan would continue playing its role as facilitator for peace, expressing his hope that others would also support us in discharging this joint responsibility.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan has serious concerns over increase in terrorism incidents. “We believe that terrorism can be checked by implementing National Action Plan (NAP),” he underscored. He said that it has become imperative to address the root causes of terrorism. He said that it is unfortunate that previous governments did not implement NAP as a result of which terrorism could not be uprooted. He said that the PTI government is fully serious to implement NAP. Referring to South Punjab province, he said that the creation of South Punjab province is not just priority of the government but also a longstanding desire of the residents of this region. He claimed that the creation of South Punjab province would strengthen the federation. He said that the government was making serious efforts to create the province and PTI tabled bill in the national assembly for this purpose. He disclosed that the PTI would contact other political parties in next phase and take all stakeholders into confidence. He said that it was quite clear that the residents of South Punjab would not let the opponents of the province set their foot in this region. He declared that the South Punjab secretariat would become functional soon and separate budget would be allocated for this region in coming budget. He declared that he would get approved special package from the Chief Minister and Prime Minister for NA-157.

MC KICKS OFF DRIVE TO BEAUTIFY CITY

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