Latest Pakistan News / Islamabad News – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that talks were necessary for permanent and concrete relations with India.
Speaking at a reception given in honour of the Indian parliamentary delegation led by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar here at the Prime Minister House, Mr Gilani expressed the hope that ongoing talks with India would prove to be productive.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has accepted his suggestion for initiation of peace talks, Mr Gilani said.
“I respect Dr Manmohan Singh from the core of my heart and I share his desire for peace.”
The reception was attended by National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza and members of political parties in parliaments of Pakistan and India.
The prime minister said that his government was committed to result-oriented, constructive and productive engagement with India.
India and Pakistan should work together and join hands for betterment of the poor and in the fight against hunger, disease and poverty, Mr Gilani said.
“We should think about the future of ordinary people so they can have drinking water, health and education,” he said, adding that relations between parliaments of the two countries had room for improvement. He stressed the need for more people-to-people contacts and exchange of parliamentary delegations.
“Governments come and go, but love of the people remains and your visit will pave the way for strengthening of relations between the two peoples,” the prime minister said. He said the present Pakistani parliament had done significant legislative work and that parliaments of the two countries could learn from each other.
The parliaments of the two countries shared history, values and traditions, he added.
The prime minister recalled that he had visited India as Speaker of National Assembly and as tourism minister.
He also recalled his visit to India in 1991 with Ms Benazir Bhutto to attend the funeral of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He said during his visits to India, he developed a rapport with a number of Indian politicians.
“We don’t forget old friends and keep in touch with them.”
Mr Gilani recalled the political struggle of his forefathers for the independence of India from Britain.
He asked the Speaker of Lok Sabha to convey his regards to Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the President of Congress Party, Ms Sonia Gandhi.
National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza said that parliamentary groups of the two countries should frankly discuss all issues and work for alleviation of poverty and for prosperity.
“We should divert resources for reduction of poverty and development and welfare of the people,” she said.
She said the importance of parliamentary diplomacy had increased and friendship groups of the two parliaments should hold meetings twice a year to promote understanding.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said she had brought good wishes for the people of Pakistan from the people and parliament of India.
Ms Meira Kumar said that parliaments of Pakistan and India reflected the will of more than a billion people.
She said that parliament was the best forum to bring people of India and Pakistan closer so that they could live in peace and harmony. She said people of India desired strong friendship with the people of Pakistan. – APP