ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PPP Senior Vice Chairman Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday said that normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan held the key to peace and prosperity of the millions of poverty stricken people of the two countries.
Gilani, in a statement while commenting on the recently concluded successful visit of a Pakistani parliamentary delegation to India, said that such visits were of paramount importance to build bridges between the people on sustainable basis encompassing mutual respect and mutual interest.
He recalled the interview of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with a foreign correspondent, in which he had said that the relations between Pakistan and India would be like the ties between Canada and the US normalisation of relations does not mean compromising the stated position on core issues of Kashmir, the former prime minister said.
He said that the setback to the peace process inflicted by the Mumbai attack was rectified when he met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Sharmul Shaikh, Egypt, on the sidelines of the NAM Summit, where the two sides agreed to resume the peace process, clearly implying that the terrorists would not be allowed to make the dialogue process hostage. It was a heart-warming breakthrough for the two countries, he added.
He said that his meetings at Thimpu, Bhutan, and the Maldives on the sidelines of SAARC summits further built up the trust between the two countries, leading to a number of confidence building measures in the intermediary period.
Gilani recalled his meeting with his Indian counterpart in the Maldives where at a joint press stakeout the Indian Prime Minister made his reaffirmation in no uncertain terms that both the sides had agreed “to settle long-standing issues through negotiations, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Manmohan Singh also described Gilani as a man of peace.
He said that Prime Minister Manmohin Singh was sincere in normalization of relations between Pakistan and India.
He said that after the nuclearisation of both countries, the balance of power in the region had been restored and the option of war as a means to settle the issues between them was no more relevant.
The former prime minister said that it was his vision to increase trade between the two countries to their full potential and the pace of momentum in that regard was accelerated during his tenure.
The Indian government's decision to allow Pakistani investors to invest in that country and also permission to buy shares in their stock market, including opening of bank branches by the respective countries, were a significant development and dividends of the same policy, he said and added that as per the decision of a Cabinet meeting, chaired by him, the negative list would wither away way by December this year.