President Asif Ali Zardari has hinted that the PPP-led government could open another trade route with India. He added that troops pullout from Siachen Glacier was possible, if the two countries agree on it.
The proposal to connect Multan with New Delhi through Head Sulemanki was floated by Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Wattoo to boost trade between the two countries. The president said he would discuss the proposal with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
“We are aware of the extreme climate and other difficulties at one of the world’s most difficult terrains but troops withdrawal could only take place if the two governments decided to disengage jointly,” the president told a public gathering in the Wasawela area of Okara on Friday.
The gathering offered special prayers for the valiant soldiers who remain trapped under an avalanche in Giari sector at Siachen Glacier.
Friday was observed by the nation as Youm-e-Dua (Day of Prayers).
The president said the PPP-led democratic government believed that trade between Pakistan and India could bring prosperity to the two nations.
In his recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi President Zardari had also focused the discussion on enhancing trade ties between the two countries.
He said that when he assumed office, all powers were concentrated in the office of the president but he himself gave up all his powers to the real representatives of the people in order to make parliament stronger.
Referring to the 17 provincial ministries in control of the Punjab chief minister, the president said this was the main difference between the PPP and other parties.
While other parties avoid transferring a few ministries, the PPP has transferred all its powers to the provinces, he added. “Only through empowering the people and the provinces, the federation could be further strengthened.”
The president said the PPP had taken up the issue of Seraiki province as it believed that any failure by the mainstream parties to address the issues of the people of the South Punjab might provide an opportunity to militant groups or any other party to take advantage of the situation and play on the people’s sentiments.
Zardari called upon PPP’s leadership in Punjab to engage the people of the province in a dialogue and to invite them to join its ranks so as to strengthen the party and to enable it to form the next government in Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.