President Asif Ali Zardari exchanges views with Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar during a meeting at the presidency in Islamabad on Tuesday. – Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that Pakistan wishes to have friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India and there were tremendous opportunities exist between the two countries to enhance their cooperation for mutual benefit.

The president stated this while speaking to Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, India, who along with his delegation called on him the presidency.

He urged for exploring cooperation in fields such as education, health, and community development between the two countries.

The president, while welcoming the visiting chief minister and his delegation to Pakistan, extended his greeting on the occasion of Diwali. He said that such parliamentary exchanges between the two countries were highly encouraging and would contribute to the deepening of people-to-people contacts.

He said the two countries might consider establishing friendship groups in their provincial assemblies on similar lines as already existing in the national parliaments, which would lead to create greater understanding between the lawmakers.

While expressing satisfaction over the ongoing dialogue process between the two countries, the president said that there existed a general consensus among the mainstream political parties of Pakistan to have good neighbourly relations with India.

“We want peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes for lasting peace in the region,” the president reiterated.

Lauding rich cultural and civilizational heritage of Bihar, the president said that greater interaction between the people and greater cooperation and exchanges with the Government of Bihar would prove mutually beneficial for the two sides.

He appreciated 'Bihar model of development' due to its emphasis on social sector development particularly education, health, and community development.

On this occasion, the president mentioned the Benazir Income Support Programme, which was the flagship programme of the government and was successfully reaching out to millions of the poorest of the poor.

While mentioning various components of the BISP, he said that Pakistan would be happy to share its experience in eradicating poverty and unemployment.

The chief minister of Bihar, thanked the president for warmly welcoming him and his delegation to Pakistan and said that the people on the other side of the border were also keen to promote good friendly relations with the people of Pakistan.

The president also hosted a dinner for Nitish Kumar and his delegation.

Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Minister, Farzana Raja, Minister/Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme, Dr Paul Bhatti, Minister for National Harmony, Asma Arbab Alamgir, MNA, Anwar Saifullah Khan, MPA KP and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.


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