Pakistan PM Khan desires peace with arch-rival India

FILE PHOTO: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a joint news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (not pictured) at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan November 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail/File Photo

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday replied to a letter written by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, and said Islamabad desires peaceful relations with New Delhi, an official source told Reuters.

Modi had written to Khan on the occasion of Pakistan’s Republic Day on March 23, also calling for peaceful relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Dated March 29, the letter wasn’t officially released by either side but the official, speaking on anonymity, confirmed its contents which were shared widely on social media.

“The people of Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India,” Khan said in his reply, adding, “I thank you for your letter conveying greetings on Pakistan Day.”

Neither the Indian or Pakistani foreign ministries responded to requests for comment.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quoted Modi’s letter on March 23, Modi as saying that “India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan” and “for this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative.”

India and Pakistan have fought three wars and have shared a fractious relationship since the two gained independence in 1947, and in 2019 tensions rose dramatically as they sent combat planes into each other’s territory.

Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has called on both the nations to bury the past after the militaries of both countries released a rare joint statement last month announcing a ceasefire along a disputed border in Kashmir.

(Writing by Asif Shahzad; Additional reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal in New Delhi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)



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