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New govt under Imran Khan wants Kashmir issue to be solved through dialogue: Pak envoy

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NEWDEIHI:_Pakistan’s incoming leadership under Imran Khan has accorded importance to good relations with all neighbours, including India, and finding a solution to the Kashmir issue through dialogue, the Pakistani envoy said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion of Pakistan’s independence day at the high commission in New Delhi, Sohail Mahmood said positive developments, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s phone call to congratulate Khan on his election victory, had raised hopes of improved bilateral relations.

The incoming leadership has made “a detailed reference to relations with India in which importance was given to ending the blame game, finding a judicious solution to the Kashmir issue through talks, and increasing trade and people-to-people contacts between the two countries”, Mahmood said.

“It is a good sign that Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan and congratulated him. It is expected in the light of these positive developments, Pakistan-India relations will improve,” he said, speaking in Urdu.

Pakistan’s leadership, Mahmood said, has “always wanted peaceful relations with India on the basis of mutual request and equality”.

He added, “It is clear that peace, security and economic progress in South Asia can be achieved only through peaceful relations. We can expect that this region, which has been left behind in the race for progress because of tensions, will witness a new era of regional cooperation.”

Imran Khan, who took oath along with all the newly elected Pakistani lawmakers on Monday, is expected to be sworn in as Prime Minister next week. During a meeting with the Indian envoy Ajay Bisaria in Islamabad on Friday, Khan called for the resumption of dialogue with India on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

He expressed the hope that the SAARC Summit will be “held soon in Islamabad” and also spoke about “human rights violations” in Kashmir during the 30-minute meeting. Bisaria briefed the PTI leadership on “India’s concerns about terrorism and cross-border infiltration”.

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