MABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday asked India to deactivate its forward air bases, stand down troops and relocate them to peacetime positions that would reduce the tension between nuclear neighbours.
"I believe if India deactivates its forward air bases and similarly relocates its troops to peacetime positions, that will be a positive step," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a policy statement here at the Foreign Office.
He said, "I believe by this, the existing tension in the region will be reduced." He also asked for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue suspended by India after the Mumbai attacks.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, however, said that there was a "positive" development in Pakistan's relations with India during the last 48 hours.
"Pakistan considers the development with India in the last 48 hours as 'positive and welcoming'," he said.
He said the statement of Indian External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee regarding joint investigation into Mumbai incident also supported Pakistan's stance, as he admitted of not providing evidence to Pakistan so far.
Of another positive development, he said that Mukherjee also categorically stated that India did not give ultimatum to Pakistan.
"Pakistan believes that ultimatums do not help improve relations between the countries," he said.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan's approach was positive from day one and it stood by its commitment to cooperate in the investigation whenever evidence was provided.
He said, "I reiterate that Pakistan wants to cooperate and has a positive approach."
He also termed as positive other recent developments including the direct contact between the DGMOs of Pakistan and India, and the telephonic conversation between President Asif Ali Zardari and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said, "We believe that it will help defuse the tension and apprehensions created between Pakistan and India."
He said the meetings of Pakistan's high officials in Washington also helped promote the country's point of view.
He said Pakistan was also thankful to China for its efforts to de-escalate the tension between Pakistan and India.
Foreign Minister Qureshi stressed the need for using direct contacts and diplomatic channels for improving the ties and said the importance of dialogue should not be overruled.
He said, "Pakistan wants to resolve the conflicts at the dialogue table."
He said that coercions and pressures would only benefit the powers involved in Mumbai incident that tried to dismantle the peace between the two countries and also in the region.
He said geography had made Pakistan and India as neighbours and it was the duty of the two states to maintain a friendly atmosphere for the benefit of their peoples.