Pakistan, India must not be held hostage to 26/11: Gilani
* PM says both countries should hold composite dialogue
* Soil of neither country should be used against the other
* Stresses need for people-to-people contact at all levels
* India should not bracket terror groups with Pak govt
* Islamabad needs more material on Mumbai attacks
* Pakistan convinced about India’s involvement in Balochistan unrest
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan and India must not be held “hostage to one incident” – the Mumbai terror attacks – and should hold composite dialogue, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Thursday.
In an interview with India’s CNN-IBN TV channel, the prime minister said, “A billion people should not be made hostage to one incident. If we are hostage to one incident, then the beneficiaries are terrorists and therefore we should move ahead.”
Soil: Gilani said he believed that the soil of neither India nor Pakistan should be used against the other country, adding that composite dialogue was the only solution to all bilateral problems.
“Things are stuck with the Mumbai incident, and the matter is sub judice ... Certainly we condemn terrorism and we always believe that neither Pakistan’s nor India’s soil should be used against each other. We are the victims of terrorism and we are fighting the war on terrorism... I think composite dialogue is the only answer... We are both responsible nations... we can only move forward ... we cannot afford war... The people are very poor and we have to watch their interests as well. And the only way forward is talks,” he said to a question.
To a question about relations between India and Pakistan, the prime minister said he had a “very good meeting” with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a summit in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh. It stalled only because of Indian public pressure and parliament.
Prime Minister Gilani expressed hope that Pakistan and India would talk to each other in 2010.
“I believe politics is a day-to-day affair, and I certainly hope we will move forward for a composite dialogue.”
On outrage in Pakistan against its cricketers being “snubbed” by the Indian Premier League, Gilani said, “I think it is the mood of parliament, the mood of the public and we have to follow their point of view as well.”
Contact: Gilani said the two countries needed people-to-people contact at all levels. “Recently the speaker of the National Assembly visited India and she had an excellent meeting with the speaker in India. They discussed about more interaction with parliamentarians. That would really help defuse the situation,” he said.
Terror groups: Answering a question, he asked India not to bracket terror groups with the government of Pakistan.
“If you have information it is better to share [it] with us so that we can jointly resolve the issue,” Gilani said.
Pakistan had asked for further information on the Mumbai attack suspects so that “we should strengthen the case”, Gilani said, adding, “We’ve already registered the case, the matter is sub judice before the High Court, and if more material is given to us and more sharing is done with us, it will definitely help us”.
“We’re extremely serious that it should be taken to justice and further information is shared with the Ministry of Interior. That would help us.”
To a question about Jamaatud Dawa head Hafiz Saeed, Gilani said “We need more evidence to put him to task.”
Unrest: To another question, he said he was convinced that India was involved in the unrest in Balochistan.
Denying Pakistan’s involvement in the recent violence in Indian-held Kashmir, the prime minister said, “We’re too busy in our own matters. We want a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.” app/daily times monitor