Amid fears of an escalation in the tensions between the two neighbours, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday that Pakistani Imran Khan is ready for to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone and offer peace.
According to Pakistani media, Qureshi, who is a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), revealed the intention of the Pakistani Prime Minister during an interview with Pakistani news channel Geo News.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is ready to talk to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the telephone to offer him peace,” said Qureshi, adding, “Is (PM) Modi ready for it?”
“We are ready for every eventuality. If they give priority to peace, we are ready for peace. If they prioritise dialogue, we are ready for dialogue,” Qureshi further said.
He added that Pakistan is willing to consider returning the Indian pilot if it helps in de-escalation of the current situation between the two nations.
“If there is de-escalation with the return of this [Indian] pilot, Pakistan is willing to consider this. We are ready for all positive engagement,” he told the Pakistani media.
India sent a dossier to Pakistan which, according to reports, contains details of the role of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans on 14 February as well as audio-video recordings of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar praising the Pulwama attack.
Qureshi confirmed that he has received the dossier but excused himself saying that he was busy with meetings and thus did not have a chance to examine it.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Thursday that there was an airspace intrusion by Pakistan jets which attempted to attack military installations.
Pakistani F-16 fighter jets on Wednesday violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri sector and dropped bombs at four places near Army installations, but missed all the targets. They were immediately pushed back by Indian jets on air patrol.
India lost a MiG 21 Bison aircraft which intercepted Pakistani fighter jets who entered Indian territory, the government had said.
Speaking about the IAF fighter pilot captured by Pakistan, the MoD officials said he was ill-treated by the Pakistan Army in violation of the Geneva Convention.
New Delhi has insisted on the unconditional and immediate return of the fighter pilot, and not consular access.
India asserted that there was no question of any deal on the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.