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Political will, visionary political leadership key to Indo-Pak ties progress: Qureshi

June 24, 2011 - Islamabad

Welcoming the latest round of talks between India and Pakistan at the level of foreign secretaries, former Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi however said that progress in the bilateral relationship between the two countries could only be made if there was political will and a visionary political leadership to see it through.

Speaking in an exclusive interview to ANI on Friday, Qureshi said: "I'm happy that we are talking. I'm happy that the dialogue has resumed. I'm happy that we have agreed to discuss all issues that are outstanding between India and Pakistan. This is a positive development."

He further said that the leadership on both sides recognizes that "this is the only sensible way forward."

"So, to that extent I'm very happy at the outcome. But judging from what has happened so far, the interactions that have taken place in different segments, I can say that we are going through the motions, but the substance is not there. Talks are taking place, but the spirit is lacking," he said.

Asked whether he foresaw the possibility of a significant movement forward in bilateral ties, Qureshi said: " I'm convinced that any breakthrough, if it takes place, it will take place through visionary political leadership. Officials cannot do it."

"They (officials) could have an understanding of the issues, perhaps, even more so than the politicians understand the issues and the technicalities, but the issues are not technical only, it is political," he added.

"And, what is required is the political will. In my view, progress can be only made if the political will is there, and that will can only come with political leadership," Qureshi said. By Smita Prakash


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