By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has received a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which the latter extended “greetings & best wishes to the people of Pakistan on the National Day of Pakistan”.
“It is time that [the people] of Sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence,” Modi said in the message, according to a tweet by Prime Minister Khan on Friday.
In a subsequent tweet, Imran Khan welcomed his Indian counterpart’s message, saying it was now time to begin a “comprehensive dialogue” with India to resolve all bilateral issues.
“As we celebrate Pakistan Day I believe it is time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address & resolve all issues, [especially] the central issue of Kashmir, & forge a new relationship based on peace & prosperity for all our people,” the Prime Minister wrote.
Modi’s message is the first overture by India since the February 14 Pulwama attack, following which South Asia remained at edge for over a month.
In what was the most serious military crisis in South Asia since 2008, Indian and Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight on Feb 27, a day after a raid by Indian jet fighters on what New Delhi claimed was a militant camp in Pakistan. Islamabad denied any militant camp exists in the area and said the Indian bombs exploded on an empty hillside, damaging trees.
Pakistan downed two Indian planes for violating its airspace and captured its pilot Abhinandan after he ejected in Azad Jammu and Kashmir near Line of Control.
The tensions de-escalated after Prime Minister Khan decided to release the Indian pilot as a peace gesture, and following concerted diplomatic efforts by countries including the United States, China and the UAE.
By Muhammad Luqman