Lauding the Indian prime minister’s peace efforts, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani expressed hope that the ongoing peace process between Pakistan and India would lead to a resolution of issues that have bedevilled the relationship between the two neighbours.
Speaking at a reception hosted in honour of an Indian parliamentary delegation headed by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar here at the Prime Minister House, Gilani added that Pakistan is committed to “result-oriented, constructive and productive engagement with India.”
The Indian speaker, along with members of Indian parliament, is currently on a five-day visit to Pakistan on the invitation of her Pakistani counterpart Dr Fehmida Mirza.
A statement issued by the PM House said that the Indian Lok Sabha speaker endorsed the view that all contentious issues between the two countries must be settled through dialogue. Separately, in an interview with a private television channel, Lok Sabha Speaker Kumar pointed out that “war is no solution to any problem and the two countries must shun the path of violence”.
In his remarks, Gilani lauded Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his efforts to seek peace between the two countries.
“I respect Dr Manmohan Singh from the bottom of my heart and I share his desire for peace,” said Gilani.
He emphasised the need for India and Pakistan to work together to eliminate hunger, disease and poverty in the two countries.
“We should think about the future of the people so they can have drinking water, health and education,” he said, adding that strong relations between parliaments of the two countries can prove to be vital.
“Governments come and go but love of people remains and your visit will pave the way for strengthening relations between the people,” he told Kumar.
In her other engagements of the day, the Indian speaker along with her delegation met the Pakistan-Indian Parliamentary Friendship Group (PFG).
The maiden meeting of the Pakistan-India PFG with Indian parliamentarians was jointly chaired by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira and Indian Speaker Kumar herself.
It was agreed that dialogue was the only way forward in addressing the contentious issues between the archrivals and peace was the only way to regional prosperity and harmony.
In a gesture of goodwill, Kumar also planted a sapling of Mangolia Grandiflora in the lawn of the Parliament House along with National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2012.
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