Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that Pakistan and India were not engaged in any "peace talks" and the United Arab Emirates was not facilitating anything

In an interview with TRT World, Qureshi said he wanted to "correct" the host, Andrea Sanke, on her question that whether the "secret" round of peace talks between Pakistan and India being facilitated by the UAE were "showing more promise" than the peace talks in Afghanistan.

"We are not having any peace talks at the moment and the UAE is not facilitating anything," said the foreign minister. He had arrived in Istanbul on Friday for a two-day official visit to "participate in a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan", according to a statement from the Foreign Office.

Qureshi said he had "seen stories about the 'role of mediation', [but] no".

“[The] UAE is a friend and it has good relations with Pakistan and India," said the foreign minister, adding that all friends had been consistently saying that the two were nuclear countries with outstanding issues who could not go to war, therefore, "the best way forward is dialogue."

"Pakistan has never shied away from dialogue. India had shied away, India took certain steps that vitiated the climate," Qureshi stated.

"Look at the statement Pakistan made, look at the statement Prime Minister Imran Khan made when he won the elections: 'You take one step towards peace, we will take two'.

"It was an olive branch because we as a government, we have a people-centric agenda. We want economic security, we want to concentrate on our economic stability and for that we need peace, we need peace with our eastern neighbour and we need peace on the western front. So talks make sense," said the foreign minister.

He stated that if India wanted to convince Pakistan that it was willing to talk then it would have to create a "conducive environment" — which it had originally vitiated by the actions taken on August 5, 2019, according to Qureshi. He added that Kashmiris had been "snatched" of their statehood, alienated, deprived of their rights and were still in a "double lockdown". "We are facing a Covid lockdown, they are facing a Covid lockdown and they are facing a military siege."

"So how do we talk to people in that environment. Give them (Kashmiris) the relief, give them the statehood.

"Even the secular voices within India have said the Kashmir policy of the Indian government has failed, it has boomeranged [and] it has failed to achieve the objectives that were initiated when it was launched, so revisit [and] rethink," said FM Qureshi.

"If you are willing to engage, Pakistan will never shy away."

The UAE's envoy to Washington had previously confirmed that the Gulf state was mediating between India and Pakistan to help the nuclear-armed rivals reach a “healthy and functional” relationship. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba had said in a virtual discussion with Stanford University's Hoover Institution that the UAE had played a role “in bringing Kashmir escalation down and created a ceasefire, hopefully ultimately leading to restoring diplomats and getting the relationship back to a healthy level”.

“They might not sort of become best friends but at least we want to get it to a level where it's functional, where it's operational, where they are speaking to each other,” he had said.

Top intelligence officers from India and Pakistan held secret talks in Dubai in January in a new effort to calm military tension over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, people with knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.

Ties between India and Pakistan have been frozen since a suicide bombing of an Indian military convoy in occupied Kashmir in 2019 was blamed on Pakistan, leading to India sending warplanes to Pakistan. Later that year, India's prime minister withdrew the occupied region's autonomy in order to tighten his grip over the territory, provoking outrage in Pakistan and the downgrading of diplomatic ties and suspension of bilateral trade.