Imran Khan in a meeting with Narendra Modi in 2015. Twitter photo
Pakistan 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 Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan's Republic Day on March 23, also calling for peaceful relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
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," Imran 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."
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.
The premier's message came as the curfew and communications blackout imposed by New Delhi in Kashmir entered its 12th day. Aug.15 is also India's Independence Day, which is being observed as a black day across Pakistan to protest the brutalities in Kashmir.
As per a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, the decision has been "taken in view of the regional security environment.” Bajwa's tenure was due to end in November but analysts have long predicted the extension.
Imran's comments come a day after Pakistan accused India of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in the disputed Kashmir region. India denied it had used such weapons.
His reaction came after the Indian government earlier in the day decided to revoke Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
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