Indo-Pak dialogue reduced trust deficit, says Gilani
* Members of Indian delegation say Indo-Pak trade could touch $15 billion figure
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that his government is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India, and that meetings between Indo-Pak officials in the recent past have helped reduce trust deficit between the two countries.
He said Pakistan wanted a just, peaceful and negotiated settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
The PM expressed these views while addressing a delegation of Indian parliamentarians, which called on him at the Prime Minister’s House.
The delegation is currently on a tour of Pakistan to exchange views with their counterparts under the banner of PILDAT.
The PM recalled his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Sharm el Sheikh, Thimpu, Mohali and Maldives on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit.
Mentioning his visit to Mohali, Gilani said his interactions with Indian officials created an environment that paved the way for a meaningful dialogue process.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, former union minister and Indian National Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha thanked the PM for his warm hospitality.
They opined that uninterrupted dialogue could bring durable peace and stability in both the countries, which could entitle both prime ministers for the Nobel Peace Prize.
They said the Indian prime minister had rightly said that Yousaf Raza Gilani was a man of peace.
The PM responded by saying that in the context of Pakistani politics, he was a man of crisis.
They said they had observed a complete transformation in the country in terms of “friendly and hospitable environment” as compared to their last visit in January 2011.
Members of the delegation said there was a vast potential of trade between both the countries that could touch the figure of $15 billion instead of the current $2 billion.
Pakistani and Indian parliamentarians also handed over a joint parliamentary resolution to the PM on the occasion.
The Indian parliamentary delegation consisted of Mani Shankar Aiyar, Derek O Brien, Naresh Gujral, Satish Chandra Mishra and Sitaram Yechury from Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and Yashwant Sinha, Asaduddin Owalsi, Baijayant Jay Panda, Dasgupta Gurudas, Hamdullah Sayeed, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Shatrughan Prasad Sinha, Supriya Sadanad Sule, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Tathagata Sathpathy from Lok Sabha (Lower House).
The Pakistani parliamentary delegation consisted of Jan Muhammad Jamali, Senator SM Zafar, Senator Salim Saifullah Khan, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, National Food Security and Research Minister Israrullah Zehri, Minister for Oversees Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar, Minister for Professional and Technical Training Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi and MNAs Qamar Zaman Kaira, Asma Arbab Alamgir, Asfanyar Wali Khan, Haji Munir Khan Orakzai, Kashmala Tariq, Bushra Gohar, Maulana Muhammad Qasim, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and Gulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi.
PILDAT officials including Executive Director Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Aaisya Riaz, Wajiha Kanwal and Hammal Dostain were also present on the occasion.