Bashir met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday at the state secretariat Nabanna in Kolkata as part of his farewell visit to Kolkata, before he bids adieu to India after his year and a half long stint as the ambassador of Pakistan.
"Ground realities may appear different, but It is in the common interest of both the countries to strengthen the bi-lateral ties. Friendly relations between the two countries will benefit both the sides. There are issues on which Islamabad and New Delhi differ, but we have to work on the convergences," Bashir told media.
The Pakistani diplomat stressed on the issue of greater co-operation and exchanges between the people of India and Pakistan and called on the people of India to visit his country.
"What you have read or imagined is far from reality. In our country we are working on the public perception and there is no negative coverage of India," said Bashir.
Speaking on the pressing issues of crime and terrorism that have long been the stumbling blocks in the way of peace process between the two neighbouring nations, Bashir said, "There are mechanisms in place and we have to allow those mechanisms to work. The recent meeting between Pak Rangers and BSF has been called a success."
On the question of Pakistan's apprehension about possible regime change with BJP's Narendra Modi as the prime minister, Bashir said his country's relation with India is not person or party centric and believed that more pressing issues like economy, energy and anti-terrorism would find place in the discussions.
--IBNS (Posted on 01-01-2014)