Pakistan's envoy Sohail Mahmood likely to return to India today

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Talking to reporters after hoisting his country's flag to mark Pakistan's National Day at the Pakistan High Commission, the envoy said he hoped there would be space for diplomacy and efforts to begin dialogue which helps the two countries resolve their differences and a move towards bilateral relations.

Now, New Delhi has gone a step further by refusing to issue visas to Pakistanis who wanted to visit India in connection with Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti.

He said Pakistan' foreign policy revolved round endeavours for permanent peace in the world and was based on non-interference in the internal issues of other countries.

Pakistan had also accused the Indian officials of intimidating the children of a senior diplomat while they were on their way to school. "I do hope that at this pivotal moment, with India and Pakistan at 70, there would be hard reflection on the time lost, and the opportunities missed", he added.

"Building a future different from the past remains indispensable. I hope we can prove equal to the task and work purposefully to advance the worthy goals of honourable peace, equal security, and shared prosperity", he said.

Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the famous Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India. Mr Mahmood was called back to Islamabad for consultations after alleged incidents of harassment in New Delhi, with Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Faisal claiming that the Indian government failed to take notice of the increasing incidents of intimidation of Pakistani diplomats, their families and staff by its intelligence agencies.

Mahmood said that Pakistan desired peaceful relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect.

He reminded India that it could not suppress the indigenous struggle of the Kashmiri people and called upon an immediate peaceful resolution of the issue.

He said that Pakistan was ready to extend a hand of co-operation to the regional countries, but "taking it as a weakness will be a risky mistake". He said that "India held the key to peace in South Asia and that country could not progress without cooperation".