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Islamabad wants to resolve officials’ harassment row: Pak envoy   

Mahmood said peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Pakistan on Friday said it wanted to resolve the ongoing row with India over the alleged harassment of each other’s diplomats as soon as possible.

“I discussed this issue with our government…we want to sort out this issue as soon as possible because it affects the relations between the two countries,’’ Pakistan High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood told the media after unfurling his country’s flag at the Pakistan High Commission at a function to mark Pakistan’s National Day.

In his brief address on the occasion, he said Pakistan desired to have peaceful relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect and it was important for the two countries to resolve all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, through dialogue.

Amid the row over the harassment of each other’s officials in respective missions, he said peace was in the mutual interest of both countries and it could only be achieved through diplomacy and dialogue. He underlined, what he called, the importance of Pakistan’s vision of ‘peaceful neighbourhood’.

Mahmood also spoke about Pakistan’s ‘achievements’ in deepening democratic culture, accelerating economic development and effectively addressing challenges related to extremism and terrorism through successful anti-terror operations.

He said peace, security and stability in South Asia could only be promoted on the principle of peaceful coexistence.

The Pakistani envoy had returned to India on Thursday night from Islamabad after he was called back to the Pakistani capital last week for urgent consultations in the wake of allegations by both countries that their respective mission officials were being harassed and intimidated by the other side. The Pakistani media had suggested that Mahmood might not return to New Delhi until the stand-off over the treatment of mission officials was resolved.

The High Commissioner is also hosting a reception on the occasion of Pakistan’s National Day for which invitations have been extended to Kashmiri separatists, politicians, intellectuals and journalists.